The female condom, like the male condom, is a barrier device used for birth control.
The female condom protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), 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 is made of a substance called nitrile and is much cheaper. These condoms fit inside the vagina.
The condom has a ring on each end. The ring that is placed inside the vagina fits over the cervix, covering it with the protective rubber material. The other ring, which is open, rests outside of the vagina and covers the vulva.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
The female condom is about 75% - 82% effective with typical use. When used correctly all of the time, female condoms is 95% effective. They fail for the same reason as male condoms:
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
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: A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and 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 (2/26/2012).
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