Female condoms are made from thin, soft plastic called polyurethane. Female condoms are worn inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb.
Condoms are the only contraception that protect against pregnancy and STIs. Currently there is only one brand of female condom available in the UK, called Femidom.
What are the benefits of using a female condom?
- They can be 95 per cent effective if used correctly.
- It protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
- You only need to use them when you have sex.
- In most cases, there are no medical side effects from using condoms.
- They can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
Things to consider
- They need to be placed inside the vagina before there is any contact between the vagina and the penis.
- They need to be stored in places that aren't too hot or too cold, and away from surfaces that could tear them or wear them away.
- Always buy condoms that have the CE mark on the packet. If they don't have the CE mark don't use them.
- They may not be suitable for women who are not comfortable touching their genital area.
- Do not use them more than once.
- They are very strong but may split or tear if not used properly.
- They are not as widely available as male condoms and are more expensive to buy.
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.