Life Health - Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages and Disadvantages

Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages and Disadvantages

Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages and Disadvantages – From a number of methods of preventing pregnancy (contraception), the name spermicide may not be as popular as other methods, such as birth control injections, birth control pills, spirals, vasectomy, to the use of condoms. Are you one of those who are not familiar with spermicides? If yes, then what is a spermicide? How do spermicides work? How effective are spermicides in preventing pregnancy?

Understanding how to use Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages, and Disadvantages correctly is crucial for their effectiveness. While one of the advantages is their availability without a prescription and ease of use, it's essential to recognize that they are more effective when used in combination with other contraceptive methods. Additionally, some users may experience skin irritation or allergies as disadvantages of spermicides. Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages, and Disadvantages helps individuals make informed decisions about their contraceptive choices, promoting responsible and effective family planning.

What Is Spermicide?

Spermicide is one of various contraceptives for couples who want to postpone pregnancy. Spermicides (spermicide) function to kill sperm cells, or inhibit the movement of sperm before they reach the egg.

The benefits of spermicides to prevent pregnancy are due to the content of a chemical called nonoxynol-9, which is specifically formulated to kill or inhibit sperm movement.

Spermicides are available in various forms, namely:

  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Tablet
  • Vaginal contraceptive film (VCF)
  • Suppository spermicide

How Spermicide Works

As already explained, the way spermicide works is by killing sperm cells, or blocking the way for sperm to reach the egg, where the chemical nonoxynol-9 becomes the 'main player' of this process.

Spermicide is placed in the vagina, near the neck of the uterus, just before having sex. After that, this contraceptive begins to work when penetration has reached the ejaculation stage.

Nevertheless, the effectiveness of spermicide as a means of contraception should still be balanced with the use of other contraceptives, such as condoms. This is because the use of spermicides supported by other contraceptives has an effectiveness of 95 percent, while the use of spermicides without supporting contraceptives has an effectiveness of 70-80 percent.

How to use spermicide

There are several ways to use spermicides. For cream, gel, and foam spermicides, how to use it is by applying or spraying it into the vagina using a special tool that is usually included in the spermicidal product.

Meanwhile, for other types of spermicides such as VCF, the way to use it is by placing it behind the vagina, while suppository spermicides can be directly inserted into the vagina without the help of special tools.

The time span between the use of spermicide and the penetration of the penis into the vagina varies. Several types of spermicides such as creams, gels and foams allow you to have sex immediately after use. Special spermicides such as VCF and tablets, should be used 10-30 minutes before intercourse.

For more details, pay attention to the instructions for use listed on the spermicide product packaging. Or, you can consult with your doctor first before using the spermicidal contraceptive.

One more thing, in order to maximize the performance of spermicides, you are advised not to douching, namely cleaning the vagina using a special vaginal cleansing soap, for approximately 6 (six) hours after finishing intercourse. Or, you really don't need to do the douching.

Spermicide Advantages

The presence of spermicides as an alternative means of contraception is not without reason. There are a number of advantages of this spermicidal contraceptive product, namely:

1. Short Term

Many couples are worried about using long-term methods of contraception, such as vasectomy, birth control injections, or spirals. The reason is, the use of these tools has side effects that are quite disturbing, for example:

  • Weight gain
  • nausea
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Headache
  • Bleeding
  • Bruises on the testicles

This does not happen if you use spermicide, considering that this contraceptive is short term because it only works when used.

2. Easy Maintenance

Using contraceptives such as spirals, you need to check with your doctor to make sure the device is working properly, or if it requires replacement. Pretty troublesome, right? Not to mention the costs that must be incurred for each examination.

As for spermicide, you can install it independently, even with care. Provided, place this spermicide in a clean place and keep out of reach of children.

3. Cheaper

Just like condoms, spermicides are an effective birth control solution, but without the need to spend heavily. You can also get spermicides at the nearest pharmacies. Considering that spermicide contraceptives are sold freely, pay close attention to how to use them.

Disadvantages of Spermicide

However, this does not mean that spermicides are clean from deficiencies. In fact, this contraceptive has a number of drawbacks that you should pay attention to, namely:

1. Must be used with other contraceptives

As mentioned above, spermicide users are advised to continue using other contraceptive methods—such as condoms—to maximize the effectiveness of the spermicide. This is because the use of spermicides without the support of contraceptives such as condoms still allows women to get pregnant.

About 28 out of 100 women who use spermicide for the first time without their partner using a condom report still getting pregnant.

2. Risk of Infection

Another disadvantage of spermicide that you need to be aware of is that this tool does not necessarily prevent you from getting infections caused by sex (STDs), including infections that lead to HIV/AIDS.

Not only that, the risk of vaginal irritation also increases with the use of spermicides that are too frequent.

3. Less Efficient Ways to Use

If you and your partner are 'unable' to make love right away, then spermicide is not the right choice. The reason is, you have to wait a few moments after using a spermicide to be able to penetrate. However, this only applies to VCF and tablet type spermicides.

So, that's information about what spermicide is, starting from how it works to the advantages and disadvantages of this contraceptive method. The choice of method of preventing pregnancy (birth control) must of course be adjusted to the needs and conditions of you and your partner. Don't hesitate to consult a doctor to determine the right contraceptive method. Hope it is useful!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, understanding the various aspects of Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages, and Disadvantages is crucial for making informed decisions about contraception. Spermicides offer a barrier method that immobilizes and kills sperm, providing an additional layer of protection against pregnancy. Their easy accessibility and straightforward application are definite advantages, making them a convenient option for some individuals. 

However, it's important to recognize that they work best when used in conjunction with other contraceptive methods for increased effectiveness. As with any form of birth control, there are disadvantages, such as the potential for skin irritation or allergies in some users. Assessing the benefits and drawbacks of Spermicides: Functions, How to Use, Advantages, and Disadvantages allows individuals to choose the most suitable contraceptive method for their unique needs and preferences, empowering them to take control of their reproductive health responsibly. 

Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals can further enhance the effectiveness and safety of using spermicides or exploring alternative options to ensure comprehensive family planning.


How do spermicides work as a contraceptive method? 
  • Spermicides function as a barrier method of contraception. They contain chemicals that immobilize and kill sperm, preventing them from reaching and fertilizing an egg.

How should I use spermicides effectively? 
  • For optimal effectiveness, it is essential to use spermicides according to the instructions provided with the product. Typically, spermicides come in various forms, such as creams, gels, foams, or suppositories, and they need to be inserted deep into the vagina shortly before intercourse.

What are the advantages of using spermicides? 
  • Spermicides have several advantages as a contraceptive option. They are readily available over-the-counter without a prescription, making them easily accessible. Additionally, they are simple to use and can be used only when needed, offering a degree of flexibility compared to daily contraceptive methods.

Can spermicides be used alone for birth control? 
  • While spermicides can be used as a standalone contraceptive method, their effectiveness increases when used in combination with other barrier methods like condoms. Using spermicides alone may have a higher failure rate in preventing pregnancy.

Do spermicides protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? 
  • Spermicides, by themselves, do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To reduce the risk of STIs, it is crucial to use condoms in addition to spermicides, as condoms provide a dual protection against both pregnancy and STIs.

What are the disadvantages of using spermicides? 
  • Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergies as a side effect of using spermicides. Additionally, they may not be as effective as other long-term contraceptive methods, such as hormonal birth control or intrauterine devices (IUDs).

Are spermicides suitable for everyone? 
  • Spermicides may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with allergies to spermicides or certain chemicals used in these products should avoid using them. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate contraceptive method based on individual health and lifestyle factors.

How often should I apply spermicides during sexual activity? 
  • Spermicides generally have a limited duration of effectiveness, usually lasting for about one hour. Therefore, if engaging in multiple rounds of sexual activity, it is crucial to reapply the spermicide before each act to maintain its contraceptive efficacy.


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