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Spermicide is safe for most people, but all medicines have some risks and side effects. Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out if spermicide is right for you. 

Is spermicide safe for me?

Spermicide is totally safe for most people. However, the chemical in most spermicides, nonoxynol-9, has some risks. If you use it many times a day, it can irritate your vagina and increase your risk of HIV and other STDs. That’s because when your vagina is irritated it’s easier for infections to get inside your body.  So use condoms along with spermicide to protect yourself and your partners. 

 What are the risks of using spermicide?

If you notice that your vagina feels sore or irritated after you use spermicide, you may be sensitive to it. You can try a different brand of spermicide and see if that makes a difference. If the irritation feels really bad or if switching brands doesn't help, ask your nurse or doctor for help.

Talk to a nurse or doctor if:

  • it burns when you urinate (pee)

  • you have spotting or bleeding that's different from your normal period

  • your vulva or vagina is sore, itchy, or red

  • you have discharge from your vagina that's different from your normal discharge

These things may mean that you have an infection or something else is wrong. Most problems are easy to treat, so don’t stress out — a nurse or doctor can help you figure out what’s going on and what to do about it.

Is it safe to ingest spermicide?

No. Swallowing or ingesting spermicide can be dangerous and cause serious harm to your health. Only use spermicide inside and around your vagina. If you swallow spermicide, go to your nearest emergency room or call a poison control center right away.