Resources for Teens > Preventing Pregnancy > Female Condom
What is a female condom?
The female condom is a pouch made of polyurethane or latex that fits inside the vagina. It is a barrier method of birth control.
How does it work?
The female condom has a flexible ring at the closed end of the pouch with a slightly larger ring at the open end. The smaller ring at the closed end keeps the female condom in place, whereas the larger ring rests outside the vagina. The female condom keeps the vagina and cervix from coming in contact with the skin of the penis or with secretions from the penis.
How effective is a female condom?
The typical use of female condoms, which is the average way most people use them, has a failure rate of 21%. This means that 21 people out of every 100 will become pregnant during the first year of use. You may increase effectiveness by adding a spermicidal foam, jelly, or cream in conjunction with the condom. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
What are the side effects or health risks of female condoms?
Female condoms do not have any side effects except to individuals who are allergic to latex.
Is a female condom reversible?
Yes. The female condom does not have any effects on either the male or the female reproductive function. It is possible to get pregnant immediately if condoms are no longer used.
How much does a female condom cost?
The cost of female condoms is higher than male condoms and both types are only used once. The cost ranges from as little as $2.50 to $5.00 each.
What about female condoms and sexually transmitted diseases (STD's)?
A condom is the only means of birth control that provides a significant reduction in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are not "Safe Sex," but rather "Safer Sex." Condoms help prevent the transmission of STD's by reducing the likelihood of partner exposure through genital contact or fluid secretions.
The female condom has not been studied near as much as the male condom counterpart, but it provides similar properties.
Information about male condoms: According to the workshop summary, "Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention," July 2001, The National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases report:
What are the pros and cons for female condoms?
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