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, 237 (3), 270

Is Effectiveness of Diaphragm Compromised by Postcoital Swimming or Bathing?

  • PMID: 12259737

Is Effectiveness of Diaphragm Compromised by Postcoital Swimming or Bathing?

G S Bernstein. JAMA.

Abstract

PIP: Question: A patient who uses the diaphragm and jelly method of contraception was told that swimming or bathing within 6-8 hours following intercourse would interfere with the effectiveness of the diaphragm. I am aware of the usual precautions regarding removal of the diaphragm from the vagina following intercourse but have never heard of this interdiction. Answer: I am not aware that swimming or bathing following intercourse seriously interferes with the function of a diaphragm. Postcoital care of the diaphragm is directed toward preventing its removal or displacement while viable sperm are still in the vagina. 1 possible risk of bathing is that the vagina may become flooded with water at a time when the diaphragm does not fit snugly because the vagina is increased in size owing to the anatomical changes accompanying sexual excitement. I doubt whether this is a serious risk unless, perhaps, the patient were to immerse herself immediately after intercourse. Since sperm usually do not remain motile in the vagina longer than 2 hours the usual precaution of waiting 6-8 hours after coitus to remove the diaphragm is very conservative. However, it is probably wise to keep this margin of safety. When there are pressing reasons to remove the diaphragm early, I have instructed my patients to take it out after 2 hours provided they douche thoroughly before removing the device. Early removal may be necessary if the patient has discomfort or irritation from the diaphragm even though the device is the proper size.

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