Spermicides are substances that destroy spermatozoa. A contraceptive method for those who want something non-hormonal and non-invasive. Aside from hormonal contraception, intrauterine devices, and voluntary surgical sterilization, there is effectively no choice: spermicides, condoms (male and female), vaginal diaphragms, and cervical caps.
Background: from the most algae
Spermicides are among the most ancient methods of contraception. Japanese women used bamboo paper balls, Muslim women used willow leaves, women living on the Pacific Islands used seaweed. Egyptian papyri dating back to 1850 B.C. mention tampons made from honey, resinous substances, and crocodile excrement.
Soranus of Ephesus is the first recognized specialist in contraceptive drugs in the history of mankind. He studied medicine in Alexandria and practiced in Rome. Grateful descendants can enjoy dozens of recipes that have survived to this day.
The history of modern spermicides dates back to 1885. Pharmacies in England began selling contraceptive pessaries made from cocoa butter and quinine sulfate. In the 1920s, effervescent tablets containing carbon dioxide and mercury phenylacetate appeared on the market. Already 30 years later, quite modern compounds appeared containing surfactants that can destroy spermatozoa membranes: nonoxynol-9, octoxynol-9, benzalkonium chloride and menfegol.
In the Russian Federation, spermicides containing benzalkonium chloride (Pharmatex, Benatex, Gynecotex) and nonoxynol-9 (Patentex Oval and Sterilin) are used in the form of vaginal tablets, suppositories or creams.
How it works
The principle of action is very simple: the spermicide must be inserted into the vagina before each sexual intercourse and wait patiently. It is very important to withstand the time before the start of contact, so that the substance is completely dissolved and “gets to work”. The slowest are tablets: they are administered no later than 8-10 minutes before the onset of sexual intercourse. Candles begin to work after about 3 minutes, cream – after 1-3 minutes.
However, if the onset of sexual intercourse is delayed, an additional dose of the drug will have to be administered. Nonoxynol-9 is updated every hour, preparations with benzalkonium chloride are more humane in this regard: a new vaginal tablet should be introduced if contact has been delayed for 3 hours, a capsule or suppository after 4 hours, a new dose of cream is administered if a romantic date has been postponed for 8-10 hours. At the same time, one should not strive to somehow “wash out” the previous portion of spermicide.
The most important rule: one serving of spermicide – one sexual contact. Even if the instructions say that the cream retains spermicidal activity for as long as 8 hours, this does not mean that you have received 8 hours of freedom. Before each new intercourse, a new dose of contraceptive must be introduced.