While spermicides can be a useful part of contraception, there’s some important information to know when deciding whether to use them.

The most common spermicide is nonoxynol-9, and there are some brands of lubricants that contain it. Unfortunately, lubricants are an ineffective way to deliver spermicide. That’s because different people use different amounts of lube, which means that you can’t control the dosage. Too much nonoxynol can irritate the vaginal or rectal lining, which can increase the risk of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Too little nonoxynol won’t kill sperm. As a result, we’ve chosen to only carry lubricants that do not contain nonoxynol-9.

Spermicides are not a100% effective contraceptive on their own, but they can increase the effectiveness of condoms. One of the easiest and more effective ways to use spermicide is the vaginal contraceptive film, available at many drugstores and online. The film is similar to breath-freshening strips -- you insert it into the vagina before sex and it provides enough spermicide to be effective while not causing irritation. It’s important to know that the vaginal contraceptive film will not protect you against STIs, so using condoms is still important.

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