A diaphragm is a dome-shaped latex or silicone cup with a flexible rim. It is positioned at the end of the vaginal canal before sex to block sperm and thus prevent pregnancy

To be effective the diaphragm needs to fit precisely inside the vagina

During a woman’s first doctor’s visit, her doctor will make sure there are no problems with the use of the diaphragm and measure the vagina to find the right size. 

The application of spermicide to the cup and rim of the diaphragm is strongly recommended in order to increase efficacy. 

How is the diaphragm used? 

During the first visit, the doctor will provide all the information needed to insert and remove the diaphragm. 

The diaphragm can be inserted into the vagina a few hours before having sex and can be kept in place for up to 24 hours. 

Spermicide should be applied no more than 2 hours before sex

Also if the woman has sex more than once during the same use of the diaphragm, spermicide needs to be reapplied before sex

After sex, the diaphragm should be kept in a place for at least six hours. Once removed, it needs to be washed with mild soap and water, air-dried and kept in a box until next use. 

A diaphragm is a personal item and cannot be shared. Instructions may vary slightly from model  to model. Always read the directions provided with your diaphragm. 

How effective is it?

If the diaphragm is used correctly, it is very effective in preventing pregnancy.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the diaphragm? 



It is not expensive

It can be used when needed and because it’s already inserted it doesn’t spoil the moment. 

With the diaphragm, the control over contraception is totally in the hands of the woman

Usually neither partner can feel the diaphragm 

The diaphragm has no side effects 

The diaphragm can be reused 

The woman has to carry the diaphragm and spermicide with her. 

If left for too long inside the vagina, it can cause a strong smell or an infection.

It takes time to learn how to insert and remove the diaphragm.


To buy a diaphragm you need a doctor’s visit 

The diaphragm should be used during a woman’s period as it can increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome 

The spermicide used can irritate the vagina 

It might increase the risk of utis


Where can I buy it? 

The diaphragm isn’t readily available in Kenya. But it can be found in some pharmacies and drugstores.  They can also be found in some private and public health facilities. 

Does it offer STI protection?


The diaphragm doesn’t offer any protection against STIs. 

If you have sex and want protection against STIs, always use a condom. 

Also test for STIs at the beginning of the relationship. Avoid changing partners frequently.

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