Lea’s Shield (or Lea’s contraceptive in Europe) is a barrier method of contraception designed for women. It is a hormone-free cup-shaped device made of medical grade silicone rubber. This mean of birth control is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix and block sperm during sexual intercourse. It is a washable and reusable form of barrier methods that can be reused for six months.
This birth control device has a round shape and smooth edges. Unlike other barrier contraceptive methods, Lea’s shield is provided in one size. Therefore, there is no need to be fitted for every woman’s anatomy like with diaphragms. It also has a valve in center, which does not allow sperm to enter the cervix but lets the cervical mucus through.
Lea’s contraceptive is easy to insert and to remove due to a special loop for insertion and removal. It is very easy to use and comfortable because of its flexible construction. Just like other barrier contraceptive devices this form of birth control stays in place via suction. It can be used either with or without spermicide . But this device is much less effective when used without spermicide.
Like other barrier contraceptives, Lea’s shield works creating a barrier for sperm. The device suctions up to the cervix covering it and part of the upper vagina completely. Thus, no sperm can enter the uterus and fertilize an egg, so pregnancy is not likely.
How to use Lea’s contraceptive?
Lea’s shield is very easy to use. It can be put into the vagina just like a tampon. Since it has a flexible structure, this device can e squeezed and gently inserted into the vagina, as far as it is comfortably possible. Just like with a tampon, you should not feel this contraceptive device in your vagina once it has been properly inserted. Use a special loop when you want to remove Lea’s shield.
This contraceptive device can be placed into the vagina anytime before having sex. Since, its efficiency is much higher when used with spermicide, it is highly recommended to put spermicide around the ring of the device. Then take the shield and insert it into the vagina, as described above.
To be effective in birth control, this device should be left in place for at least eight hours after sexual intercourse. However, you cannot leave Lea’s shield in your vagina for longer than 48 hours. Since most spermicides are efficient for up to eight hours, you must put additional spermicide if the device is left in the vagina for longer than eight hours but you are to have sexual intercourse.
After removing Lea’s shield you need to wash and dry it carefully. You can use water with soap to wash the device. Once you have washed it properly, leave it to dry on a clean, dry towel. Bear in mind, that you need to put this mean of birth control into a special protective case, which protects the shield from dirt and damaging.
The efficiency of Lea’s contraceptive in birth control is very similar to that of other barrier methods. If used properly this device has a failure rate from 10% to 15%. This rate is about 8% if the shield is used together with spermicides.
Lea’s contraceptive advantages
Lea’s shield offers a lot of advantages for women in birth control. First of all, since this is not a hormonal method of birth control, it does not affect women’s menstrual cycle nor has other side effects and complications associated with hormonal contraceptives. It comes in one size, and therefore, it fits every woman, and does not need to be fitted by a doctor. It can be reused for up to six months when washed. It is not an expensive contraceptive method, its price is about $70 per shield.
Lea’s contraceptive disadvantages
Despite all these advantages, just as all birth control methods, Lea’s contraceptive has a few disadvantages. As compared to other forms of birth control, such as hormonal contraceptives, the shield has a quite high failure rate. As it has to be used with spermicides, these can affect vaginal lining in a way that it is more disposed to infections, including yeast infection or sexually transmitted diseases. Just like other female barrier birth control methods , Lea’s shield does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases , including HIV. Therefore, you need to use condoms during every sexual intercourse. As the device has to be placed inside the vagina, there is a certain risk for vaginal or bladder infections.
There are almost no limitations for women, who want to use Lea’s shield for birth control . It is very suitable for breastfeeding mothers. Also for women who cannot or do not want to use hormonal contraceptives. Since the device is very easy to use, many women choose it instead of using a diaphragm or cervical cap. Finally, Lea’s contraceptive can be used as additional birth control method after forgetting to take the pill.
There are a lot of options for birth control. And all of them have both certain advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you, which method of contraception to use, Lea’s shield is one of the options.