Editor’s Word: We at POPSUGAR acknowledge that individuals of many genders and identities have vaginas and uteruses, not simply those that are girls. For this explicit story, we interviewed consultants who typically referred to folks with vaginas and uteruses as girls.
Discovering the appropriate contraception that matches your physique and way of life can require some severe trial and error. For instance, the day by day tablet leaves room for forgetfulness, IUD insertion will be painful for some, and the shot requires an appointment for injection each three months. In order for you one thing that requires low maintenance and an even lower pain tolerance, you might consider Phexxi.
Phexxi is an FDA-approved, nonhormonal birth-control gel — sure, gel — that can be utilized on demand to assist forestall being pregnant. This prescription vaginal gel is in contrast to some other contraceptive on the market. It is not taken day by day, just like the tablet. It does not use artificial hormones, just like the Depo shot, ring, tablet, or sure IUDs. And it does not require something to be implanted into your body. So, is it too good to be true? POPSUGAR requested consultants concerning the pros and cons of Phexxi so you can also make a extra knowledgeable resolution on whether or not it is the appropriate possibility for you.
How Does Phexxi Work?
Phexxi is a pH modulator and works by reducing the pH in your vagina when sperm is current. The pure vaginal pH of individuals of reproductive age is low (round 3.5 to 4.5) creating an acidic atmosphere the place sperm can’t thrive, says Aparna Sridhar, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and affiliate scientific professor in obstetrics and gynecology on the David Geffen College of Medication at UCLA. “When semen enters the vagina, the pH within the vagina will increase, which permits sperm to stay cellular and make their means up the reproductive tract and fertilize the egg,” Charis Chambers, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn, instructed POPSUGAR. “Phexxi works by sustaining the pure acidic state in a girl’s vagina that reduces sperm mobility and reduces the prospect it’ll get to an egg to fertilize it.”
Phexxi is out there by prescription solely and is available in individually wrapped, single-dose, prefilled applicators which can be inserted into the vagina like a tampon. It may be used instantly earlier than intercourse or as much as an hour forward, and it lasts as much as one hour after utility. Phexxi should be reapplied each time you’ve intercourse, and it is not efficient if used after the very fact. Phexxi is a viscous, bioadhesive gel designed to stick to the partitions of the vagina — that means, you do not have to fret about leakage — and it may also be used with different types of contraception, except the vaginal ring.
How Efficient Is Phexxi at Stopping Being pregnant?
If it is used completely, Phexxi is 93 p.c efficient, per Planned Parenthood. However leaving room for error, it is really about 86 p.c efficient in stopping being pregnant. This places it on the identical degree of effectiveness as condoms (which are 85 percent effective) and makes it much less efficient than the tablet (91 p.c), the shot (94 p.c), the ring (91 p.c), and an IUD (99 p.c).
Susan Mitchell, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at Northwestern Medication Delnor Hospital, defined that the speed of effectiveness is a direct results of the best way Phexxi works. “It does not essentially kill the sperm,” Dr. Mitchell instructed POPSUGAR. “It simply decreases their motility, so it is tougher for them to achieve and fertilize an egg.”
Are There Different Benefits of Utilizing Phexxi?
Phexxi has a number of benefits over different types of contraceptives. “Phexxi is on demand, quick performing, and works instantly, whereas hormonal birth control must be used consistently to ensure that it to be efficient,” Dr. Chambers stated. She defined that you simply additionally do not must cope with the unintended effects that always accompany hormonal birth-control choices, like weight gain, pimples, temper swings, or extra extreme occasions like blood clots and depression.
Phexxi additionally offers you extra management than different contraceptives. Like different nonhormonal strategies, Phexxi is straight away reversible, Dr. Sridhar defined — while you need to conceive, merely cease utilizing it, and it’ll now not forestall you from turning into pregnant. Dr. Mitchell added that it additionally permits you to take the lead: “Some girls have a tough time utilizing condoms for contraception as a result of they must depend on a accomplice to make use of the condom appropriately.”
Does Phexxi Have Any Aspect Results?
Phexxi experiences that the most common side effects are vaginal burning, itching, yeast an infection, urinary tract an infection, vaginal space discomfort, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal discharge. Some customers have additionally reported genital discomfort, ache whereas urinating, and vaginal ache. “The vaginal biome is a fragile steadiness of simply the appropriate sorts of micro organism regulating their very own atmosphere,” Dr. Mitchell instructed POPSUGAR. “Utilizing a gel that may very well be poisonous to wholesome micro organism and worsening to the delicate vulvar and vaginal tissue in trade for not-super-reliable contraception won’t be an appropriate trade-off for a lot of girls.”
In uncommon instances of utilizing Phexxi (0.36 p.c) bladder and kidney infections have been reported.
Moreover, whereas some folks could also be drawn to the shortage of hormones, others could contemplate it a adverse. Dr. Chambers identified that many individuals select hormonal birth-control strategies due to the benefits beyond preventing pregnancy. The hormones in contraception can assist regulate your cycle, clear up acne, and ease menstrual cramps, amongst different issues.
The way to Resolve If Phexxi Is Proper For You
There’s rather a lot to think about when weighing the professionals and cons. First, you should definitely contemplate all of the unintended effects. There have been a few cases of urinary bladder infection and kidney infection reported in scientific research. Due to this, Phexxi just isn’t advisable for individuals who have had recurrent urinary tract infections or different urinary tract issues.
Past that, the choice could come right down to how typically you are having intercourse and the stage of life you are in. “For girls who will not be having intercourse day-after-day, it won’t make sense to take a hormonal tablet day-after-day or have an IUD,” Dr. Chambers stated. Nonetheless, it is essential to keep in mind that, in contrast to condoms, Phexxi is not going to assist to guard in opposition to sexually transmitted infections.
You even have to think about Phexxi’s efficacy share. How comfy you’re with the opportunity of getting pregnant will fluctuate relying in your life circumstance, Dr. Sridhar defined. Dr. Mitchell famous that Phexxi may very well be useful for people who find themselves coming off hormonal birth control and have plans to attempt to conceive quickly however not fairly but. “Phexxi may provide help to attempt to time a being pregnant, so long as you wouldn’t be too disenchanted if you happen to conceived a cycle or two sooner than you meant,” Dr. Mitchell defined.
Finally, it is a large resolution and a person one. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all birth-control possibility, so it is essential that you simply educate your self concerning the varied choices accessible to you and communicate together with your physician,” Dr. Chambers stated.
— Further reporting by Alexis Jones