September 15th, 2011 by Hasham
What is a cervical cap?
The cervical cap is a soft rubber barrier that covers the cervix in order to prevent sperm from entering into the uterus.
How does a cervical cap work?
The cervical cap blocks most sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicide is added to the cervical cap to kill any sperm that may get outside of the protection of the cap.
How effective is a cervical cap?
Typical use, which is the average way cervical caps are used, reveals a failure rate of approximately 20%. This means that 20 people out of every 100 will become pregnant during the first year of use. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
What are the side effects or health risks of a cervical cap?
The most common side effect from using a cervical cap is vaginal irritation. Some women also experience an increase in the number of bladder infections they have.
The cervical cap should not be used by women who have:
* An abnormal shaped cervix
* A history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
* Abnormal pap smears
* Severe cervicitis
Is a cervical cap reversible?
Yes. A cervical cap does not have any effects on either the male’s or the female’s reproductive function. It is possible to get pregnant immediately when cervical caps are no longer used.
How much does a cervical cap cost?
There are three fees associated with the use of a cervical cap: health care provider’s visit, the cervical cap, and the spermicidal agent. Office visits to obtain a prescription for a cervical cap range from $50 to $200, the cervical cap costs between $15 and $50 dollars and spermicidal jellies, foams, or creams range from $7 to $18 dollars per package. The cervical cap can last up to two years.
What about cervical caps and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)?
The cervical cap does NOT provide protection against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
What are the pros & cons of cervical caps?
* The Pros of Cervical Caps include:
o Reusable and relatively inexpensive
o Small and easy to carry
o Requires less spermicide than a diaphragm
o Rarely hinders the sexual experience
o May be used for repeated intercourse within a 48 hour period
* The Cons of Cervical Caps include:
o Requires consistent use for each sexual encounter
o Spermicide may be messy
o A prescription is required
o May contribute towards urinary tract infections
o May cause cervical changes, such as cervicitis
o Must be cleaned and stored
o May need to be resized following a pregnancy, abortion, pelvic surgery, or weight loss or gain (20lbs or more)
o May get stuck in the cervix requiring it to be removed by your healthcare provider
How Does a Cervical Cap Work?
The cervical cap keeps sperm from entering the uterus by covering the cervix. For added protection, spermicide is put into the cap before inserting the cap snugly over the cervix.
The cap is inserted at least 15 minutes before having sex and can be left in place for up to 48 hours. While the cap is in place, its position should be checked and spermicide should be added every time a couple has sex. After sex, the cap must be left in place for at least 6 hours.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the cap. Removing a cervical cap involves placing a finger in the vagina to pull the cap out. Because the cap has to be placed properly, women who use one should be comfortable feeling for their cervix deep inside the vagina.
After each time it is used, the cap must be washed with mild soap and water, rinsed, and air dried, then stored in its case. It should not be dusted with baby powder and should never be used with oil-based lubricants such as mineral oil, petroleum jelly, or baby oil. These substances can cause the material in the cap to become brittle and crack. Other vaginal creams, such as medicines for yeast infection, also can damage the cap.
The idea of blocking the cervix to prevent pregnancy is thousands of years old. Various cultures have used cervix-shaped devices such as oiled paper cones or lemon halves. Others made sticky mixtures that included honey or cedar rosin, to be applied to the os. The modern idea of a cervical cap as a fitted device that seals itself against the vaginal walls is of more recent origin; it emerged within the past century
Several brands of caps were manufactured during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. They can be divided into two types: cavity rim caps, and other caps. Cavity rim caps adhere to the cervix, while other caps adhere to the vaginal walls around the cervix.
The cavity rim caps are Prentif, made of latex, and the disposable cap Oves, made of silicone. There are four sizes of Prentif: 22, 25, 28, and 31 mm. There are three sizes of Oves: 26, 28, and 30 mm. Unique among cervical caps, it adheres to the cervix by surface tension, rather than by suction.
The other devices are the latex Dumas and Vimule, and the silicone FemCap, Lea’s Shield, and Shanghai Lily. There are five sizes of Dumas: 50, 55, 60, 65, and 75 mm. There are three sizes of Vimule: 42, 48, and 52 mm. There are three sizes of FemCap: 22, 26, and 30 mm. There are four sizes of Shanghai Lily: 54, 58, 62, and 66 mm. Lea’s Shield is manufactured in a single size. Unlike the other caps, Lea’s Shield has a one-way air valve that helps it seal to the vaginal walls. The valve also allows the passage of cervical mucus. FemCap does not have such a valve and as such can be used to collect cervical mucus to support the billings method Both Lea’s Shield and FemCap have loops to assist in removal.
Shanghai Lily is only available in China. As of 2008, many of the other devices are no longer being manufactured: Prentif, Vimule, and Dumas have been discontinued. Oves is only being sold as a conception cap, not as a birth control device. As of February 2009, FemCap was the only brand of cervical cap available in the United States. FemCap is also available in the UK via the NHS on prescription and is often distributed free from Family Planning Clinics depending on the health authority. Lea’s Shield is only available as the German brand LEA contraceptivum.
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