Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)
Table Of Contents
- What is a Birth Control Sponge?
- How does it Prevent Pregnancy?
- How are Birth Control Sponges used?
- What are the Benefits?
- What are the Disadvantages?
- How Effective are they?
- How Safe is the Sponge?
- Tips for Using Birth Control Sponges
- Where to Buy Birth Control Sponges
What is a Birth Control Sponge?
The sponge (also known as the Today Sponge) is a squishy porous foam object which is inserted into the vagina before intercourse. It is made of plastic foam and contains spermicide to immobilize sperm as it comes in contact with the sponge.
The sponge is typically around 2 inches in diameter and features a nylon loop which is used to easily remove it from the vagina after intercourse.
It usually costs between $0-15 for a package of three, depending on your location. It is sold at most drug stores and you do not need a prescription to buy it.
How do Birth Control Sponges Prevent Pregnancy?
Sponges prevent pregnancy by covering the cervix and blocking sperm from entering the uterus. By inserting the sponge deep into the vagina before intercourse, sperm are blocked and cannot enter the uterus. In addition, the sponge releases spermicide throughout intercourse, which keeps the sperm from moving.
How are Birth Control Sponges Used?
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching the sponge.
- Wet the sponge with a bit of water before insertion.
- Squeeze the sponge to let the water soak in, activating the spermicide.
- Fold the sides of the sponge with the nylon loop facing downward.
- Insert the sponge as far as you can reach into the vagina.
- Ensure that the sponge is resting firmly against the cervix by sliding your finger around the edge.
For more details you can follow the instructions provided in the package.
What are the Benefits?
Out of all of the birth control options, the sponge is one of the easiest to use and causes the least harm to your hormonal balance (along with male condoms and female condoms).
In addition, other benefits are as follows:
- Safe, convenient, and easy to use
- No effect on hormones
- No prescription required
- Good for continuous use (can be re-used for up to a 24 hour period)
- Contains no estrogen (for women who are breastfeeding)
- No major risks or health concerns
What are the Disadvantages?
The sponge does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, if infections are a concern, you should use sponges with an alternate form of birth control such as condoms.
The sponge may be difficult for some women to insert and remove correctly. If you are unable to remove it, or if it comes apart while inserted in the vagina, you should immediately seek medical help. If the sponge is left in the vagina for over 30 hours, the risk for toxic shock syndrome is increased.
In addition, the sponge may change the moisture conditions of intercourse. This makes sexual experiences either too dry (creating friction) or too wet (quite messy). Some women have also complained of vaginal irritation after using the sponge.
As with most birth control methods, it gets easier to use the sponge over time and with practice.
How Effective is the Birth Control Sponge?
The effectiveness of the birth control sponge can shift significantly based on whether or not the woman has given birth before.
- 9 out of 100 women will get pregnant if they always use the sponge correctly and have never given birth before
- 12 out of 100 women will get pregnant if they do not always use the sponge correctly and have never given birth before
- 20 out of 100 women will get pregnant if they always use the sponge correctly and have given birth before
- 24 out of 100 women will get pregnant if they do not always use the sponge correctly and have given birth before
These numbers are based on using the sponge as the only form of contraceptive (no other forms of birth control applied).
Therefore, the sponge is more effective when using a condom or pulling out before ejaculation.
How Safe is the Sponge?
For most women, the sponge is a very safe form of birth control.
However, for some, the sponge can cause medical complications. It should not be used by people with allergies to sulfa drugs, polyurethane, or spermicide. The sponge can also pose a small risk of toxic shock syndrome, which may occur if the woman has any kind of vaginal bleeding. Therefore it cannot be used when you have your period.
In addition, do not use the sponge if you have:
- Recently given birth
- Had an abortion
- A history of toxic shock syndrome
- Had the sponge in for over 30 hours
- Any reproductive tract infections
Tips for Using Birth Control sponges
When using a sponge, you may want to have a water based lubricant on hand. This will be useful if the sponge makes the sexual experience dry or uncomfortable.
In order to further reduce the risk of pregnancy, using a condom or the pull out method in conjunction with a sponge is a good strategy.
The sponge can be purchased over the counter at your local drug pharmacy or drug store, without a prescription.
Where To Purchase Today Sponge
If you are looking to buy a birth control sponge, get the Today Sponge.
Find it at the best price here on Amazon and have it shipped directly to your doorstep.
Check out other Birth Control Options and speak with your doctor before deciding on your birth control method.