What is the diaphragm and how does it work?

published on July 21, 2020

Remember the diaphragm? 90s sitcoms had this weird obsession with them even though barely anyone used them Whatever happened to the diaphragm? I'm Edwina from ABC Life and I've been researching contraceptives that are not just the pill, and the diaphragm, like this new one just here actually has a really interesting history Everyone knows about the pill, but what about the other options? We talk contraceptives that are not just the pill So women throughout history have been getting creative with

Everything from beeswax to wool to opium to try and create some kind of diaphragm to prevent themselves from getting pregnant By the late 1950s, 21 percent of women in Australia actually used the diaphragm, but when the 60s brought with it free love women's liberation and the pill, diaphragm use essentially plummeted Even despite a very weird spate of mentions in 90s sitcoms But a couple of years ago the diaphragm

Actually got a redesign While those Australian women of the 1950s would have had to go to a doctor to get theirs fitted this new design is one size fits all But wait, does anyone actually even know how the diaphragm works? Or if it's even worth using these days? Well, allow us to bring back the woman behind Dolly Doctor from your awkward teen years Hi, I'm doctor Melissa Kang

I never get asked about the diaphragm at all anymore, it's really gone out of fashion in Australia So what do we need to know about the diaphragm? The diaphragm is something known as a barrier method of contraception it's made out of silicone and it's dome shaped it goes up inside the vagina and sits against the cervix and prevents the sperm from getting through And why would someone choose to use diaphragm?

A woman might choose the diaphragm because she can't take a hormonal contraception and might prefer it to something like condoms You use it with a contraceptive gel and you insert it before you have sex You leave it in for six hours following intercourse and then you have to be sure to take it out within 24 hours of first inserting it Nobody likes increased chances of UTIs

So when it comes to measuring efficacy of contraceptives there's perfect use, and there's typical use Perfect use is if you were to use the contraceptive exactly to the instructions every single time without fail Typical use allows for human error and as we're all human, today we're going to stick with typical use So compared to other contraceptives the

Diaphragm is one of the least effective It's 82 percent for typical use which is about the same as condoms, although if condoms are used perfectly they're way over 95% This means if a hundred women use the diaphragm over the course of a year, 18 of them would fall pregnant with typical use The interesting thing that I discovered about the diaphragm, is that, as Melissa Kang noted it can be really hard to track down because the demand is so low these days It took me two doctors

Appointments, four trains, one very awkward conversation with a pharmacist and a stiff warning from a family planning physician, to finally get my hands on one When I got it figured out, the big thing that I realized is that you have to be super cautious with those time frames And you really need to remember to replace the gel, because this is what keeps it in place and enhances its efficacy And the biggest thing is that you actually need to remember where it is

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