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Home » Sexual Resources » Sex Articles » Sexual Dysfunction

Vaginal Swelling & Discomfort
Due to Latex Diaphragm or Spermicide Allergies

Some women find they experience vaginal swelling, itching and discomfort when using a diaphragm with spermicide and are sometimes confused about what may be causing their symptoms. There are a few things you may wish to examine and discuss with your gynecologist to determine what is causing the problem.

Latex Allergies -

The first area to rule out is if you have an allergy. If the diaphragm is made with latex, you may also wish to explore whether or not you have a latex allergy. Typically a latex allergy will show up as contact dermatitis which is a rash that occurs where the person touches latex if they have a mild allergy, however, for those with an extreme allergy more serious side effects can occur.

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

Copyright © Holistic Wisdom, Inc.


The Most Common Cause for Irritation: Spermicide-

However, it is more common to have an allergic reaction to spermicides which can cause local skin irritation to the vulva, vagina and penis. You can try a different brand of spermicide should you have a reaction and experiment with a milder dosage of the nonoxynol-9 that most spermicides contain. There is a product called Erogel, which is a spermicidal lubricant containing nonoxynol-15 and avena sativa may also be a good alternative.

It should be noted that studies have shown that while spermicides are helpful in preventing pregnancy they may increase the risk of contracting HIV and genital lesions not to mention urinary tract infections (UTI), yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis. Diaphragms may be used without spermicide but you may have a higher rate of possible conception so it is important that if you do not use spermicide to ensure that the diaphragm is well fitted as those that are not have a pregnancy rate of 24% per year.

If the diaphragm is too large or moves around it can not only be ineffective but quite uncomfortable. In fact, if it is too large the diaphragm may contribute to a UTI as it can put pressure on the urethra and cause urine to slow or back up and create a better breeding ground for bacteria. If the sizing is off make sure to speak with your doctor and also review the discomfort as there may be a possible medical issue beyond the spermicide or diaphragm size such as an undiagnosed STD that is causing the swelling. In cases like these it is always best to seek medical assistance just to make sure you are covering all the bases.


Diaphragm Lubricant Guide -

Also, if you are using a latex diaphragm make sure you are not using an oil-based lubricant as it will cause the latex to degrade and tear open causing issues with reliable birth control Silicone diaphragms can be used with all lubricants as they are 100% medical grade silicone.

It should be noted that latex diaphragms should be replaced every 1-3 years, whereas a silicone diaphragm can last well beyond ten years.


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