If you have a possible risk of giving or getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and you want to effectively prevent pregnancy, combine condoms with a more reliable method of birth control, such as the hormone pill, ring, patch, implant or shot or an intrauterine device (IUD).
If you think that your barrier method has failed or has been used incorrectly, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. Douching after intercourse does not prevent sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes, where fertilization takes place. It may also increase your chance of getting a pelvic infection.Advantages of all barrier methods
Barrier methods of birth control:
- Do not affect a woman's or man's future fertility.
- Are only used at the time of sexual intercourse.
- Are safe for a woman to use while she is breast-feeding.
- Do not affect other health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Are less expensive than hormonal methods of birth control, and some are available without a prescription.
Condoms and diaphragms may reduce the risk of cervical cancer, which is caused by a sexually transmitted human papillomavirus. Condoms also are the best method for reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.Disadvantages of all barrier methods
Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of birth control. If you are considering using a barrier method for birth control, think through what the emotional and financial costs of an unintended pregnancy would be if the method fails.
To prevent pregnancy with a barrier method, you and your partner must be comfortable with using it and be prepared to use it every time you have sex. For some couples, barrier methods are not a good choice because one or both partners:
- Find it embarrassing to use.
- Do not want a barrier method to interrupt foreplay or intercourse.
Some people develop allergies to spermicides. But using spermicide is advised with diaphragms, cervical caps or cervical shields. So if you can't use spermicide, you will need to find a different form of birth control.
For people who have an allergy to latex, polyurethane condoms are available. Latex condoms are slightly more dependable than polyurethane condoms.
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