7/3/15 UPDATE – THE CAYA DIAPHRAGM IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE US. HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO PRESCRIBE OR OBTAIN IT.
UPDATE – JANSSEN PHARMACEUTICALS HAS DISCONTINUED PRODUCTION OF THE DIAPHRAGM AS OF FEB 2, 2014. SEE UPDATE HERE.
After a prolonged hiatus, during which diaphragms became as scarce as Elaine’s treasured sponges, the Ortho All Flex diaphragm is back, and it’s now latex-free. The over one-year (at least in my area) shortage happened as the manufacturer transitioned from the old latex to new silicone diaphragms, and suppliers everywhere began back-ordering this important barrier contraceptive.
I called Ortho today, and was informed that the new diaphragms have been available for a few months now. I checked with my local pharmacy, and they advised me they could get a size 75 within 24 hours. At online pharmacies, diaphragms sell for $40-$50. You’ll need to restock spermacidal gel at a price of about $15 a tube – good for 30 or so uses.
Milex also makes non-latex diaphragms (arcing spring and wide seal), but these diaphragms must be ordered by your doctor from Cooper Surgical, as opposed to you filling the prescription at the pharmacy. I’ve been purchasing these diaphragms for my patients for the past year, and will continue to use them for patients whose anatomy calls for the added secure fit of the wide seal or arcing spring.
These days, it seems I rarely prescribe the diaphragm – most women seem to prefer other methods. In my younger years, the diaphragm was a very popular method. It’s a good option if you don’t want to or can’t take hormones. Efficacy ranges from 84-94%, but in motivated couples who use it properly (Mr TBTAM and I were in that group for years), the diaphragm can be extremely effective. It only works if you use it properly every time you have intercourse, so if that’s not you, then look elsewhere for your birth control.
Don’t use the diaphragm unless you know your partner is HIV negative, since the method requires the use of spermacides, which can increase HIV transmission from an infected partner. Although most women use it without problems, users of the diaphragm have a slight increase in vaginal infections and urinary tract infections.
For more information and to see if the diaphragm is right for you, visit Planned Parenthood’s website.
More reading on the diaphragm from around the web
- AAFP guide on how to fit a diaphragm
- The Skeptical OB tells a classic diaphragm urban legend
- The SILC one-size-fits all diaphragm is in clinical testing – it would not require a doctor visit for fitting, increasing accessibility to diaphragms for women across the globe
- Babaco thinks she’s the last diaphragm user on the planet