Skip to Content
View Additional Content In This Section
Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy.
The female condom is a tube of soft plastic
(polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at
the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina over the cervix, like a
diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside
the opening of the vagina.
The female condom is a barrier method of
Female condom use doesn't
require a prescription or a visit to a health professional. Condoms are sold in
drugstores and family planning clinics.
perfectly, the method failure rate for the female condom is 5%, meaning that
with perfect use, 5 women out of 100 will become pregnant in the first year
of use. With typical use, 21 women out of 100 will become pregnant in the first
year of use.footnote 1 This is mostly caused by not using the
condom every time with intercourse or by not following the directions for use.
The female condom provides some protection of the genital
area around the opening to the
vagina during intercourse. And it may reduce the risk of
getting or transmitting diseases such as genital herpes or genital warts. Some
studies suggest that female condoms work as well as male condoms in
preventing STIs.footnote 2
You can insert a female condom up to
8 hours before sexual intercourse. This condom contains lubricant on the inside. Use a
new condom each time you have intercourse. Don't use a female condom with a male condom.
If a condom tears,
emergency contraception is available as an extra
method of birth control.
Trussell J, Guthrie KA (2011). Choosing a contraceptive: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 20th ed., pp. 45–74. Atlanta: Ardent Media.
Minnis AM, Padian NS (2005). Effectiveness of female controlled barrier methods in preventing sexually transmitted infections and HIV: Current evidence and future research directions. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 81(3): 193–200.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.