HOW does foam WORK? The main ingredient in foam is spermicide, chemicals that kill sperm, certain bacteria, and some viruses. Foam covers the cervix (the opening to the uterus) so that any sperm trying to make their way into the uterus have to swim through the spermicide. When they do this, they die.
HOW IS foam USED? Foam is inserted directly into the vagina using a plunger type applicator (similar to the one used to insert a tampon). Because it loses its effectiveness in a relatively short time, it must be inserted no more than 20 minutes before sexual intercourse. A new application of foam must be inserted before each intercourse.
Benefits to using foam: Using foam causes no major health concerns. No doctor's examination or prescription is required. Contraceptive foams can be bought in any drugstore. For the best protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), use foam along with a male or female condom.
Concerns connected to using foam: Foam can be messy (as in drippy and... foamy). Occasionally one of the partners can be allergic to a certain brand of contraceptive foam and may experience itching or burning. If that happens it is easy to change brands.
Effectiveness. This depends on how carefully partners use it. Using foam with a male condom or female condom is 98%-99% effective. That means in a year, for every 100 women using foam with a condom, 1-2 of them will get pregnant. The high number results from using it exactly according to directions every single time. Using foam without a condom gives much less protection.
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last updated January 30, 2008
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