A cervical cap is a barrier method of birth control . The device is made of latex rubber or silicone and comes in different sizes. A cervical cap should be chosen by a gynecologist for each woman individually. This method of birth control works the same way like a diaphragm only that it is in a different shape and size – a cervical cap is smaller and more rigid than a diaphragm.
Directions for use
A cervical cap should be inserted into the vagina a few hours before having sex. Most women like it because they do not have to care about other methods of birth control during lovemaking. A cervical cap, a thimble-shaped instrument, is placed into the vagina manually and fits the cervix (the opening of a womb) via suction. Spermicides (cream or jelly) should be placed on a cap before placing it on the cervix. The cap blocks sperm from getting into the uterus while a spermicidal substance disables sperm from fertilizing an egg because sperm is destroyed. Bear in mind, that you may need to add more spermicidal cream if the cap is placed more than six hours before lovemaking. You may also need to apply more of this substance if you have sex more than one time during the session. You should also make sure that a cervical cap is in place during the time of sexual intercourse.
You should know that it is very important for a cervical cap to fit the cervix completely. Therefore you should get an appointment with your gynecologist during which your doctor will choose the size of the best fit for you and show you how to use a cervical cap properly. Different manufacturers offer several sizes for women who had never been pregnant, for those who had had a miscarriage or cesarean section, and those who had given vaginal birth to a baby.
Manufacturers recommend using a cervical cap for no longer than a year. After one year of usage, a new one should be bought and used. A cervical cap is a reusable form of contraception. You should be aware though that it is significant to check the cap for tears and holes, because those decrease the efficiency of this birth control method. It is also important to clean the device properly after every use to prevent from the growth of microorganisms on it.
A cervical cap is very easy to use for a woman herself. It can be placed onto the cervix not more than twenty-four hours before sexual intercourse. The cap should be filled with one-third of spermicidal substance. Then you should insert it into the vagina in such a way that it sucks to the cervix. The cap should not be taken out after less than eight hours. It can be left in the vagina not more than 48 hours after it has been placed onto the cervix. You may have more than one sexual intercourse during that period although you should make sure that the cap is steadily in place and add more spermicidal substance before each sexual act. After removal of a cervical cap, wash it properly with antibacterial hand soap and warm tap water, and then leave it for air dry.
Indications for use
There are certain indications that women should fulfill so that they can use a cervical cap. Firstly, women should use another method of birth control during menstrual period, since the cap cannot be used then. Be also aware that only women who have normal Pap smear findings can choose this form of contraception. It is highly recommended to avoid using the cap for women who had had a toxic shock syndrome before or had recently had urinary tract infection. Women, who are allergic to latex or silicone, are strictly not to use a cervical cap. Also women who had recently had given birth or had an abortion should choose another type of contraception . In addition, women who lack motivation in using a cervical cap or are uncomfortable with touching their genitals may have difficulties with this form of birth control.
The right fit
There are additionally some aspects for the right fit. The right fit is chosen by a gynecologist. What you should bear in mind is that your cervix might change and hence your cervical cap should be refitted at least once a year or due to some certain conditions even more often. Women, who had given birth, had an abortion or miscarriage should have their cervical caps refitted. In addition, those who had gained or lost at least five kilos should also have their barrier device refitted.
Efficiency of a cervical cap in birth control
The most important aspect of usage of a cervical cap is the efficacy of the device. Be aware, that the efficiency of a cervical cap depends very much on the proper use of the cap and motivation of a woman. Therefore a gynecologist should teach a woman to apply a cervical cap properly. The cap should also fit the cervix completely. The efficiency varies from 82.6% to 93.6% depending on the use of a cervical cap and manufacturer.
Bear in mind that a cervical cap, as well as a diaphragm, does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. Some data show that some sexually transmitted diseases can be protected with the use of a cervical cap, except for HIV. However, you are highly recommended to use condoms not only for additional birth control but also for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.