What are internal condoms?
Internal condoms, also referred to as female condoms, provide protection against unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Made of synthetic latex (or polyurethane), these are used by vagina-owners and are placed inside the vagina or anus.
Typically, internal condoms are larger than external condoms (used by penis-owners). The closed end of these condoms has a flexible inner ring, while the open end comes with an outer anchor. Joining these two parts forms a sheath-like casing that covers the vaginal wall. The inner ring allows you to insert the condom and hold it in place while having sex. During this time, the anchor must remain outside, preventing the entire condom from being pushed inside. After sex, you can use the anchor to remove the condom.
How to use an internal condom
Follow the steps listed below to use an internal condom properly and ensure maximum effectiveness of the contraceptive.
- Open the packet using the perforated edges instead of scissors since they could unintentionally cut the condom.
- Check the condom for splits or tears. Don't use condoms that are damaged, as this increases your risk of getting pregnant and contracting STIs.
- Next, identify the closed and open ends of the condom. The closed end is on the inner ring.
- Squeeze the inner ring with two fingers to make it long and thin before inserting it into your vagina. Even though the ring is flexible, this part can initially feel uncomfortable. Getting into a comfortable posture similar to inserting a tampon or a menstrual cup can help.
- The condom should sit on your cervix, close to your pubic bone. Make sure the anchor's open end remains outside of your vagina.
- When having sex, ensure the penis is inserted into the condom's open end, not above, below, or to its side.
- After sex, turn the outer ring and slowly remove it. Re-wrap the condom in its original packaging and discard it.
Internal condoms are for single use only, so make sure to use a fresh one every time. Experts don’t recommend using male and female condoms together as it does not provide double protection. Instead, it causes greater friction and increases the probability of breakage.
How effective are internal condoms?
When correctly used, internal condoms are roughly 95% effective. Although uncommon, they can occasionally rupture, flip inside out, or slip out during sex. If this happens, semen and tiny organisms that cause STIs could enter your vaginal canal.
Research suggests that external condoms break more frequently than internal condoms, but internal condoms are more likely to come loose during sex. In case your condom breaks or slips off during sex, you should take an emergency contraceptive within the next 72 hours.
Do internal condoms protect you against STDs?
Yes! By covering the interior of your anus, vagina, and some of your vulva, internal condoms aid in the prevention of STDs. As a result, you are less likely to come into contact with skin, semen, or pre-cum that can transmit an STD.
Internal condoms: Pros and Cons
Using an internal condom has numerous advantages, such as:
- They protect both partners from STIs.
- They help you take control of your sexual health. If your partner cannot wear a condom for some reason, you can protect yourself from unplanned pregnancy using female condoms.
- The inner ring of the condom stimulates the tip of the penis during penetrative sex, and the external ring rubs against your clitoris and vulva. This makes sex extra pleasurable for both you and your partner!
On the other hand, here are a few things you should be careful about:
- Some people with vaginas, especially ones with vaginismus, can experience pain and discomfort when inserting a condom.
- Several individuals also mentioned redness, burning, or itching from the condoms. You can exhibit these symptoms if you've previously experienced an allergic response to silicone.
Are internal condoms available in India?
Unfortunately, internal condoms are not very easily available in India and are comparatively costlier than external condoms. You can purchase the options available online from brands like Pee Safe and Velvet. In select cities, you can also find internal condoms on shopping apps like Zepto and Swiggy Instamart.
There is no single best form of birth control. You should choose the one which is most convenient and comfortable for you. Picking the right contraceptive can be tricky, but we are here to help! Schedule a consultation call with our medical experts and get all your questions about birth control answered.