Your Guide to Birth Control: Condoms

What Is a Female Condom?

The female condom is a lubricated polyurethane (plastic) tube that has a flexible ring at each end. One end of the tube is closed.

How Is the Female Condom Used?

Before sexual activity begins, the woman inserts the condom into her vagina so that the closed end of the tube covers the cervix, and the other end slightly covers the labia (lips on the outside of the vagina). The condom blocks sperm from entering the womb. Female condoms should be discarded after one use.

Where Can I Get Female Condoms?

Like the male condom, the female condom is available at drug stores without a prescription.

How Effective Is the Female Condom at Preventing Pregnancy?

The female condom is about 75% effective.

Do Female Condoms Protect Against STDs?

Female condoms provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases, but the male condom provides the best protection if you have sex. Female condoms should not be used in combination with male condoms. The friction of the two could result in product failure.

WebMD Medical Reference


American Social Health Association. The Female Health Company.

Reviewed by Tracy C. Shuman, MD

Edited by Stanley I Greenspan, MD on February 01, 2006

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