The contraceptive cap is a circular dome made of thin soft silicone. It's inserted into the vagina before sex, and covers the cervix so that sperm cannot get into the womb. You need to use spermicide with it (spermicide kills sperm).
Caps come in different sizes. You must be fitted for the correct size by a trained doctor or nurse.
What are the benefits of using a cap?
- It is 92 to 96 per cent effective when used correctly.
- There are no serious health risks.
- You only have to think about it when you have sex.
- You can put it in several hours before you have sex (but do not forget to use extra spermicide if you have it in for more than three hours).
- By using condoms as well as a cap you will help to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections.
Things to consider
- It can take time to learn how to use a cap.
- If you lose or gain more than 3kg (7lbs) in weight, or have a baby, miscarriage or abortion, you may need to be fitted with a new cap.
- It is not as effective as other types of contraception.
- It only provides limited protection against sexually transmitted infections.
- Putting a cap in can interrupt sex.
- Cystitis (bladder infection) can be a problem for some women.
- Latex and spermicide can cause irritation in some women and their sexual partners.
Where can I get more information?
The Family Planning Association provides a range of helpful information.
My contraception tool
The FPA has developed an interactive tool that can help you find out which methods of contraception may be best for you.
The tool asks questions about your health, lifestyle and contraceptive preferences. All your answers are completely confidential and can't be linked back to you. The tool is available on their website.