Back to Contraception List

Diaphragms and caps are barrier methods of contraception. A woman can insert this into her vagina and prevent sperm from passing through the entrance of the womb (the cervix) (HSE, 2017). Diaphragms are soft, thin domes made of latex (rubber) or silicone. Caps are smaller and are also made of latex or silicone. They come in different shapes and sizes. They have be proven to be 92-98% effective with very careful use as high failure rates occur with less careful use.
Prior to deciding on diaphragms as a method of contraception, a consultation with your health service is required to ensure the size and type of diaphragms  are correct for you.

Benefits of choosing Diaphragms/Caps

  • You only need to use them when you want to have sex
  • No serious associated health risks or side effects
  • You are in control of your contraception
  • Can be inserted into the vagina at any time before sexual intercourse
  • Can be used and re-used
  • Good choice for woman who would wish to avoid hormone methods of contraception

Disadvantages of choosing Diaphragms/Caps

  • Not as effective as other types of contraception
  • Spermicide is needed every time the diaphragm is used for sexual intercourse.
  • The diaphragm must stay in the woman’s vagina for 6 hours after sexual intercourse but it must not stay more than a maximum of 36 hours.
  • A consultation is required annually with your doctor to ensure the fitting of the diaphragm is the correct size for the vagina.
  • Cystitis is known to be an issue for some women who use diaphragms.
  • Do not protect against STIs
  • It takes time to learn how to use.
  • It only provides limited protection (HSE, 2016).

For more information on the diaghragm/cap, click on any of the following links;

Think Contraception



Planned Parenthood