Contraceptive caps

...also known as cervical caps

The portio is the part of the cervix that extends into the vagina. Cervical caps cover the cervix and prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

The contraceptive cap must be used together with a spermicidal gel. It must be used a few minutes before sexual intercourse so that it can attach itself to the cervix.

The availability of contraceptive caps changes every now and then. Currently only the FemCap® is available in Germany.

FemCap®

© pro familia Bundesverband

The FemCap® is made of silicone and can therefore also be used by those suffering from latex allergy. The shape is similar to that of a sailor's hat. It has an edge, a dome and a niche between the edge and the dome, as well as a flap that can be used to remove FemCap® from the vagina.

FemCap® is available in three sizes (the specifications refer to the diameter):

  • FemCap® small (22 mm), for women who have not yet become pregnant
  • FemCap® medium (26 mm), for women who have given birth with caesarean section procedure
  • FemCap® large (30 mm), for women who have delivered a child normally

Since women are very different from each other, pro familia recommends that people who have experience in this method adjust the FemCap. After childbirth or miscarriage, the correct size of the FemCap should be checked.

FemCap® must be used together with a spermicidal gel. In this way sperm cells can be prevented from moving or fertilising. During repeated intercourse, an additional portion of gel must be inserted into the vagina using an applicator. After (last) intercourse, FemCap® must remain in the vagina for at least 6 to 8 hours.

In total, you need as much gel as the amount of one full teaspoon. A quarter of the gel is placed on to the top, i.e. the side facing the cervix. Half of the gel is placed in the niche between the dome and the outer rim. The niche faces the vagina. The rest is distributed on the outside of FemCap®. FemCap should be inserted into the vagina before sexual arousal. Although some partners may feel FemCap® during sex, it is usually not perceived to be disturbing.

There are no exact details available regarding the shelf life of the FemCap®. However, experts assume a shelf life of at least 1 to 2 years.

Remarks: The manufacturer states that FemCap® can be used either a few minutes before or up to 42 hours before sexual arousal. pro familia understands that safety is enhanced, if FemCap® is used at the earliest 2 hours before intercourse, or even shorter time before intercourse in case of natural contraceptives that cause vaginal acidosis, otherwise the active ingredients are diluted considerably and its impact on the sperm declines.

Advantages

FemCap® is easy to use after a learning and practising phase. It can be used only when needed, the woman's natural cycle remains undisturbed. Compared to latex allergy, silicone allergy is extremely rare.

Disadvantages

FemCap® can slip from the cervix during intercourse. Some men and women find the use of FemCap® to be an interruption in their love making, but FemCap® can be used before intercourse. If the spermicidal gel is intolerant, unpleasant sensations (feeling of warmth, burning sensation) or allergies can occur in the vaginal area. Another preparation might suit you better.

Reliability

A definitive statement cannot be made about the contraceptive safety of this method. Clinical studies show, that 86.5% of all women did not become pregnant within 6 months. However, all women were included, even those who did not use FemCap® regularly or incorrectly. If used correctly and properly, safety is likely to be significantly higher.

Accessibility

FemCap® is not required to be adjusted by a doctor. It is important that the correct size is opted for individually.

The pro familia-counselling centres in your area as well as various women's groups and women's health care centres are particularly experienced in this adaptation.

Costs

The FemCap® costs approximately 50 Euro. There could be additional costs for adjustment, check-up and the spermicidal gel.

Personal counselling

If you want to know more or have questions, please contact a doctor or a pro familia counselling centre.

Doctors, social workers, psychologists and pedagogues shall be at your disposal as contact persons.

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