Lactic acid jelly is a form of vaginal spermicide. The action of a lactic acid based contraceptive spermicide is to immobilize the movement of sperm thereby preventing it from reaching and fertilizing the egg.
The results of a study published in the American Journal of Medical Sciences conclude that the regular use of lactic acid jelly as a contraceptive provides a reasonable defense against undesired pregnancy.
Lactic acid as a form of vaginal spermicide is readily available and requires no prescription. Nonetheless, though it provides a reasonable defense, the failure rate as a contraceptive on its own is unacceptably high.
Vaginal spermicides are better used as a back up in conjunction with other barrier methods such as a diaphragm, cervical cap and condom. But the primary use of a vaginal spermicide is as a lubricant to prevent discomfort during intercourse.
The effectiveness of a spermicidal jelly contraceptive depends on correct and consistent use. Manufacturers recommend the spermicide be placed correctly in the vagina generally under an hour before intercourse. The spermicide should be located close to the cervix and deep inside the vagina. A new application is required before each intercourse. After the last intercourse, the spermicide should be left in place for at least six hours.
The major disadvantage in using a spermicidal jelly is that it might be an irritant to some women who have an allergy or sensitivity to some ingredient in the composition. Frequent applications might give rise to a break in the skin leaving it vulnerable to risk of infection from various sexually transmitted diseases.
The advantages are that it is readily available without a prescription, and can easily be carried.
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