How Do Vaginal Contraceptives Work?

Reviewed on 1/6/2022

How do vaginal contraceptives work?

Vaginal contraceptives are medications applied into the vagina before every vaginal intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Vaginal contraceptives (Vaginal pH modulators) work by maintaining the natural vaginal pH range of 3.5 to 4.5, which creates an inhospitable environment for the sperm.

The alkalinity of semen normally neutralizes the natural acidity of the vagina and helps the sperm’s survival and motility that it requires to reach the ovum and fertilize it. Vaginal contraceptives reduce sperm motility by maintaining the normal vaginal pH value.

Vaginal contraceptives make the vagina more acidic and affect sperm motility, but do not kill the sperm. Currently, the only vaginal contraceptive approved by the FDA is a novel contraceptive method and is the first non-hormonal contraceptive gel.

How are vaginal contraceptives used?

The FDA-approved vaginal contraceptive is a gel that is applied into the vagina with a single-use applicator immediately or up to one hour before every vaginal intercourse. Vaginal contraceptive is not effective for preventing pregnancy if administered after intercourse.

  • Vaginal contraceptives are approved by FDA for use as an on-demand method of contraception in females of reproductive potential.


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What are the side effects of vaginal contraceptives?

Side effects of vaginal contraceptives may include the following:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with travel medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

What are the names of vaginal contraceptive patches?

Generic and brand names of the FDA-approved vaginal contraceptive gel are:


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