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Spermicide works best if you use it correctly every time you have sex, which is difficult for some people to do. Spermicide can also have side effects.

You have to use it every time you have sex.

In order for spermicide to work as well as possible, you have to use it every time you have vaginal sex — and you have to use it correctly.

If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to use spermicide every single time you have vaginal sex, there are plenty of other types of birth control out there that are easier to use and offer better protection against pregnancy (like IUDs and implants). You can explore different birth control methods to find a method that’s right for you.

Remember: whatever kind of birth control you’re on, using condoms or internal condoms every time you have sex is the best way to reduce your risk of getting STDs. And using condoms along with another birth control method also gives you extra pregnancy protection.

Spermicide side effects.

Nonoxynol-9, an ingredient in spermicide, may irritate sensitive genital tissues, especially if you use it several times a day. That irritation increases your risk for HIV and other STDs because it gives infections an easy pathway into your body. And some people are allergic to spermicide.

If your vagina or your partner’s penis feels sore or irritated after sex, one of you could be sensitive to the spermicide. If switching brands doesn’t help, spermicide may not be a good birth control method for you.

Spermicide doesn’t protect against STDs.

Spermicide doesn’t offer any protection against STDs. And using spermicide several times a day can actually increase your risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. That’s because the chemical in spermicide can irritate your vagina and make it easier for STD germs to enter your body.

Using condoms with spermicide helps protect you from STDs and gives you an extra boost of pregnancy prevention. If you’re going to have sex, using condoms every time and getting tested regularly for STDs is the best way to help keep yourself healthy.

Spermicide can be messy.

Spermicide can ooze out of your vagina and be a little messy. It may also taste a little funky.

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Spermicide and Gel

  • 79% or 86% effective

  • Costs up to $270, but can be $0

  • No prescription required (except for Phexxi)

  • Put it in before sex

Spermicide and gel don't protect you from STDs. Use a condom with them to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
See All Methods

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