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How Well Does the Female Condom Work?

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Q: How well does the female condom work?

A: Used consistently, female condoms are 79% to 82% effective at preventing pregnancy, compared with 85% for male condoms. They are sold in drugstores for about $3.60 apiece (male condoms are about $1) and are latex-free. Each female condom can be used only once. Female and male condoms should not be used together because friction could cause one or both to slip or tear. The female condom is lubricated, but you can add more lubricant and/or a spermicide if you want.

Advantages: The female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before sex. It stays in place even if the man loses his erection. It covers the area around the vaginal opening, so it protects a bit more against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than male condoms do. No other female contraception guards against STIs. Though the device may slightly decrease sensation, many women like being in control of their own condom use.

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Source: Angela Dempsey, MD, MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Date: October 9, 2010 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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