Over-the-counterNo hormonesClass: Chemical

Spermicide

Yes
No
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Our bottom line

Spermicide comes in many forms, like creams or suppositories, and are usually used with barrier contraceptives to increase the effectiveness of preventing pregnancy.

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Upsides

  • No hormones so almost no side effects.
  • Easy to get at pharmacies or online without a prescription.
  • Safe to use while breastfeeding.
  • Can be applied hours before sex (so won't interrupt the moment!).
What’s the failure rate?
28%
of people using this method got pregnant in a year

This method has the highest failure rate out of 17 birth control methods listed. This method is the least effective!Source

More birth control methods

Downsides

  • Not very effective at preventing pregnancy when used on its own.
  • Can be hard to remember to use in the heat of the moment.
  • Might make sex messy.
  • Not effective at preventing STDs.
  • Read the instructions! Different brands and forms of spermicide may have different instructions on how to apply and use.
  • Might cause sensitivity or irritate your vagina or your partner's penis.
How it works

Spermicide contains an active ingredient, commonly nonoxynol-9, that immobilizes sperm and prevents it from getting to the egg. If applied correctly, it should make it impossible for sperm to pass the cervix.