The female condom is a device used for birth control. Like a male condom, it creates a barrier to prevent the sperm from getting to the egg.
The female condom protects against pregnancy. It also protects against infections spread during sexual contact, including HIV. However, it is not thought to work as well as male condoms in protecting against STIs.
The female condom is made of a thin, strong plastic called polyurethane. A newer version, which costs less, is made of a substance called nitrile.
These condoms fit inside the vagina. The condom has a ring on each end.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
The female condom is about 75% - 82% effective with normal use. When used correctly all of the time, female condoms are 95% effective.
Female condoms can fail for the same reasons as male condoms, including:
HOW TO USE A FEMALE CONDOM
DISPOSING OF FEMALE CONDOMS
You should always throw condoms in the trash. Do not flush a female condom down the toilet. It is likely to clog the plumbing.
Condoms for women
Jensen JT, Mishell DR. Family Planning: Contraception, Sterilization, and Pregnancy Termination. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 13.
Mishell DR. Contraception. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 246.
Linares AC, Schutt-Ain AI. Contraception. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 26.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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