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Female Condom: Uses and Benefits

Introduction

Contraceptives are a great way to have safe sex with your partner without worrying about STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Various contraceptives are available in the market, like condoms, birth control pills, implants, diaphragms  and contraceptive injections. In this article, we will be discussing the benefits of one such contraceptive that is the female condom.

What is a Female Condom?

A female condom is safe, effective contraception that a woman can wear while having sex. It is a soft pouch, which is made of nitrile or latex and is inserted in the vagina.

It acts as a barrier inside the vagina and stops the sperms from entering inside and causing pregnancy. It is similar to the male condom and helps prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.

How is it Used?

Female condoms are easy to use and can be worn by anyone at any age. However, read the instructions on the package before using it to avoid any complications.

The female condom has one opened and one closed rim. Insert the closed rim as far as possible into the vagina, and the opened rim should rest right outside the entrance of the vagina. Make sure you insert the female condom before intercourse.

During intercourse, gently guide your partner’s penis inside the condom. Don’t let the penis slip outside of the condom. After intercourse, twist the outside rim, so the semen doesn’t fall out and remove it. Make sure to remove the condom immediately after ejaculation.

What are the Various Benefits of Using a Female Condom?

Female condoms are as effective as male condoms and offer a wide range of benefits. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Convenience: The female condom is readily available at any pharmacy and does not require a medical prescription. 
  2. Works instantly: You can engage in sex immediately after wearing a female condom and don’t have to wait for a few hours for it to work.
  3. Affordable: It is not priced at a higher rate .
  4. Increased sexual arousal: The outer and the inner rim of the condom gently stimulates your genitals and can increase your sexual pleasure. 
  5. Can be worn before intercourse: The female condoms can be worn for up to eight hours before intercourse. Hence, you don’t have to worry about inserting it in front of your partner or while having sex.
  6. No side-effects: There are no harmful side-effects of wearing a female condom.
  7. Protection: If used properly, it will protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancies.
  8. Can be used while menstruating: You can wear a female condom even while menstruating without any problems.
  9. Can be used with lubricants: You can use any form of water or oil-based lubricants while wearing a female condom as they are made of nitrile rubber. However, if you are wearing a condom made of latex, use only water-based lubricants.
  10. Does not cause an allergy: Some women have an allergic reaction to latex. These condoms are safe to use for such women as it is also available in a non-latex variant.
  11. No hormonal imbalances: Unlike oral contraceptives, these condoms do not cause any imbalances in the hormonal cycle and can be used every time you have sex.

What are the Risks Associated with Using it?

Female condoms are generally safe and easy to use. However, certain risks are associated with using it. They are:

  • Discomfort: You may feel a little discomfort while inserting or removing the condom. It usually gets better with practice, but if you feel a lot of pain while using it, consult a doctor.
  • Vaginal infections: You may also be at risk of developing yeast or bacterial infections as the material of the condom may irritate your vagina.
  • Failure rate: The female condom has a higher failure rate than the male condom. Thus, you might be at a greater risk of getting pregnant if you use a female condom.
  • Slipping of the penis: If not used correctly, there is a risk of the penis slipping outside and making contact with the vagina. This can lead to the transfer of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
  • Tearing of condom: There is a risk of the condom breaking in the middle of intercourse. This can again lead to the passing of semen into the vagina, causing you to be at risk for infections or pregnancy .
  • Pushing of outer rim inside the vagina: One end of the condom needs to stay outside at the entrance of the vagina. If the outer rim is pushed inside the vagina, you may have difficulty in removing the condom if it gets stuck.

How can I Avoid Any Complications While Using it?

You can keep in mind a few tips to avoid any complications while using these condoms. They are:

  • Use lubricant: Lubricants can help decrease friction while having intercourse and prevent the condom from tearing.
  • Use the condom from start to finish: Make sure to use the condom during the entire course and not remove it in between .
  • Check expiry date: Always check the expiry date on the package to avoid any infections from expired condoms.

Conclusion

Female condoms are an effective, convenient, and affordable form of contraceptive. It provides a wide range of benefits and rarely causes any complications. Follow the instructions printed on the package carefully, and avoid removing it until the sex is over.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can me and my partner both wear condoms while having sex?

No. It is advised that both of you do not wear a condom while having sex. It will cause increased friction and the breaking of both condoms.

Do I need to use any other form of birth control with female condoms?

No. It is not necessary to use oral or other forms of contraceptives while wearing a female condom. If you are afraid that the condom will break in between, you can consult your gynecologist for better birth control methods.

Can I use a female condom more than once?

No. Do not use female condoms more than once. Using the same condom more than once can lead to infections as well as unwanted pregnancies or STIs.

Are female condoms harder to use than male condoms?

Female condoms may be a little trickier to use in the beginning, but with practice, it will get easier and you won’t feel any discomfort.

Can I use female condoms during pregnancy?

Yes. It’s completely safe to use female condoms while you are pregnant.

References:

https://www.askapollo.com/physical-appointment/gynecologist
https://www.apollohospitals.com/apollo-in-the-news/apollo-life-hosted-an-awareness-session-and-panel-discussion-on-pelvic-pain/

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Verified By Dr Amitav Mohanty
MBBS, MD -Medicine, Senior Consultant - General Medicine, Apollo Hospitals Bhubanswar
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