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Spermicidal Condoms – Do they work?

November 16th, 2017

Spermicidal Condoms – Do they work?

Do Condoms With Spermicide Work?

Physical or barrier methods of contraception such as spermicidal condoms are very popular among couples due to ease of use and effectiveness. These condoms are worn over the penis during the act of intercourse to limit the entry of sperms into the vaginal tract.
Spermicidal condoms are made up of latex and are different from any traditional condoms in the sense that these agents are lined with spermicidal jellies that kill sperm after ejaculation.

Mode of action of Spermicidal condoms?

Spermicides are chemicals (mostly nonoxynol-9) that have the ability to kill sperm and are available in the form of gels, creams or jellies. Upon exposure to spermicides, the motion of sperms is instantly restricted.

Latex Condoms

Latex Condoms

Research indicates that if used correctly, condoms are 98% effective at reducing the risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Condoms are also highly effective at reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections. However, so far there is no research or data that indicates that spermicidal condoms are more effective at reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections. In fact, according to some studies, long-term use of spermicidal chemicals especially nonoxynol-9 can aggravate the risk of several sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
Some Pros of using Condoms with spermicide:
Here are some key benefits of using spermicidal condoms:

  • Affordability: The spermicidal condoms are a fairly cost-effective method of contraception with high safety and efficacy especially compared with other contraceptive methods
  • No prescription needed: Spermicidal condoms, just like traditional condoms are available as OTC and does not require any type of prescription

Some Cons of using Spermicidal Condoms:
Here are some drawbacks of using spermicidal condoms:

  • Cost: Spermicidal condoms are more expensive than traditional condoms, but yields no additional benefits
  • Shorter shelf-life: The shelf-life of spermicidal condoms is shorter than traditional condoms due to presence of chemicals
  • Risk of allergic response: Some people may be allergic to the spermicidal jelly and may develop irritation or infection when exposed. You should watch out for signs of irritation such as redness, swelling, discomfort, itching etc.

A lot of people have certain myths and misconceptions when it comes to spermicidal condoms, such as people often think that chemical may seep into blood or body secretions and may harm a breast-fed baby or future generations; however, there is no evidence to support this.
If you are considering a long-term contraception, keep in mind that there are a number of methods other than barrier method such as intrauterine devices, vaginal rings, birth control implants, contraceptive injections or pills, sponge, diaphragm and emergency contraception.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Elist if you need help in deciding which contraception method is best for you.

  1. Nelson, A. L., & Russo, J. (2016). Barrier Contraceptives. In The Handbook of Contraception (pp. 181-202). Springer International Publishing.
  2. Proni, G., Cohen, P., Huggins, L. A., & Nesnas, N. (2017). Comparative analysis of condom lubricants on pre & post-coital vaginal swabs using AccuTOF-DART. Forensic Science International, 280, 87-94.

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