Female condom

The female condom (vaginal pouch) is a polyurethane tube-like sheath you insert into the vagina. It's lubricated and can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse. Only one brand (FC Female Condom) is currently on the market.

Availability Nonprescription

How it's used

The female condom comes with a flexible ring on each end. The closed end is inserted into the vagina close to the cervix so that the condom lines the vaginal wall. The penis enters through the open end, which remains outside the vagina. Use once only and then discard.

Effectiveness

Female condoms are 79 percent to 95 percent effective, meaning up to 21 out of 100 women who use this birth control method for a year will become pregnant.

Issues to consider

A female condom gives the woman more control over contraceptive use. Like the male condom, it's inexpensive. However, it may be a little trickier to use. Make sure to use plenty of lubricant so that the condom doesn't get pushed in or pulled out. You may need to add lubricant — use a water-based one. Don't use a male and female condom at the same time, as the friction between them can cause one or the other to come off. Female condoms offer some protection against STDs, including HIV/AIDS, but not as much as the male latex condom.

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