Contraceptive sponge

The contraceptive sponge is, of course, a type of birth control (contraceptive) that does prevent sperm from entering the uterus. It happens to be soft and disk-shaped and made of polyurethane foam. The contraceptive sponge does contain spermicide, which does block or kills sperm.

Before having sex, one needs to insert the sponge deep inside the vagina so that it can also cover the cervix. One’s vaginal muscles to hold it in place. The contraceptive sponge has rather a strap on one side for rather easier removal.

Only one contraceptive sponge — Today Sponge — indeed has Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S.

The contraceptive sponge can also prevent pregnancy but does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Why it is done?

The contraceptive sponge is indeed available over-the-counter and:
• It does not require a prescription or fitting
• It can be inserted immediately or up to about 24 hours before sex
• It also provides protection from pregnancy nearly 24 hours
• Can also be made use of as a backup method of birth control
• Does not require a partner’s cooperation

The contraceptive sponge is not really right for everyone. There are several other contraceptive options and one needs to discuss with one’s doctor whether any may be better suited for one.

One’s health care provider may not recommend a contraceptive sponge if one:

• Are sensitive or allergic to spermicide or polyurethane
• Have a vaginal abnormality that does affect the way the contraceptive sponge fits
• Have frequent urinary tract infections
• Have a history of toxic shock syndrome
• Recently has given birth, had a miscarriage or had an abortion
• Are at high risk of contracting HIV or one has HIV or AIDS
• Are at a higher risk of pregnancy — in case one is younger than age 30, have sex three or more times a week, one had had a previous contraceptive failure with vaginal barrier methods, or one is not likely to make use of the contraceptive sponge consistently.

Risks of contraceptive sponge

An estimated 12 out of 100 women who indeed have never given birth will rather get pregnant during the first year of typical use of the contraceptive sponge. An estimated 24 out of 100 women who have given birth will rather get pregnant during the first year of typical use of the contraceptive sponge.

The contraceptive sponge does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The contraceptive sponge and the spermicide released may cause:

• Vaginal irritation or dryness
• Urinary tract or vaginal infection
• An increased risk of contracting STIs
• Toxic shock syndrome

How does one prepare?

Before making use of the contraceptive sponge, one needs to read the product instructions carefully or talk to one’s health care provider. It is important that one makes use of contraception, such as a male condom or oral contraceptives, when one begins using the contraceptive sponge. This does improve the effectiveness of contraception.

Contraceptive sponge placement

To use the contraceptive sponge:

Remove the sponge from its package.

Moisten it with about 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of clean water and squeeze it gently until the sponge is sudsy. Water activates the spermicide inside the contraceptive sponge.

Insert the contraceptive sponge.

Find a comfortable position, such as squatting with legs slightly spread apart. Separate your labia with one hand. With your other hand, hold the contraceptive sponge with the strap facing down and the dimple facing up. Fold the sides of the contraceptive sponge upward. Point the folded contraceptive sponge toward your vagina and use one or two fingers to slide the sponge into your vagina as far up as it will go. Be careful not to push your fingernail through the contraceptive sponge while inserting it.

Check the placement of the contraceptive sponge. Slide your finger around the edge of the contraceptive sponge to make sure your cervix is covered.

Leave the contraceptive sponge in place for at least six hours after sex. However, do not leave it in longer than 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection.

Remove the contraceptive sponge. Gently pull on the strap. If you can’t find the strap, bear down or grasp the contraceptive sponge between your thumb and forefinger and pull. If your vaginal muscles are still holding the contraceptive sponge tightly, wait a few minutes and try again. Slip a finger between the contraceptive sponge and your cervix on one side to break any suction. Be careful not to push your fingernail through the sponge while removing it. Check the sponge for any tearing. If torn, run a finger around the upper part of your vagina to sweep out any remaining pieces of the sponge.

Discard the used sponge.

Place the used sponge in the trash. Don’t flush it down the toilet. Never reuse a contraceptive sponge.

Don’t use the contraceptive sponge during your period. Douching isn’t recommended. If you douche, wait until at least six hours after sex to avoid washing away spermicide. Don’t douche while the contraceptive sponge is in your vagina.
Contact your health care provider if:

You have signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, such as sudden high fever, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting or a rash that looks like sunburn

You have trouble removing the contraceptive sponge or you’re able to remove only part of the sponge