ACTIVATE WITH WATER
The sponge is a small disc of latex foam that contains spermicide and is placed against the cervix to prevent pregnancy. It can be left inside the vagina for up to 24 hours, making it perfect for spontaneous but uninterrupted sex. While many find the sponge a convenient method of contraception, it isn't suitable for everyone – particularly women who have given birth.
To use the sponge, simply wash your hands and dampen the sponge with tap water. This is an important step, because it starts the release of the spermicide. Now, with the dimple facing up, fold the sponge in half and insert it as far as it will go, until it covers your cervix. Check the edges to make sure it's fitted properly, and you're good to go. After sex, leave it in for at least 6 hours, and then simply pull on the strap to remove it and throw it away. It is important to remove the sponge within 30 hours, as in some cases it can raise the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
How it Measures Up
EFFICACY WITH PERFECT USE
The sponge is self-administered and bought over the counter. When it is used perfectly the sponge can be an effective method of contraception, but it is less effective than other methods – especially for those who have previously given birth.View ’Typical’ Use Efficacy Rate
EFFICACY WITH TYPICAL USE
The sponge is self-administered and bought over the counter. Although it contains its own spermicide, care must be taken to insert it and this can take some practice, so with typical use, the sponge is less effective than other methods of contraception.View ’Perfect’ Use Efficacy Rate
No. The sponge is hormone-free, and it continuously releases spermicide.
Ease of Use
The sponge needs to be placed in the vagina prior to intercourse, and can be inserted up to 24 hours in advance.
The sponge has no impact on menstruation.
You may use the sponge as often as you wish, but it is not recommended to use it during menstruation.
The sponge is held in place by the muscles in the upper vagina, and the indentation in the sponge helps keep it in place directly over the cervix. The cervix opening is far too small for the sponge to pass through, so there is no way the sponge could get lost inside the body.
No. The sponge must be placed before you have sex to be effective.
The sponge is made from a soft material that feels like vaginal tissue. Some partners may feel the sponge, but most people don't find it uncomfortable.
Some women spot between periods, particularly during ovulation, so this is no cause for worry. If the menstrual bleeding is unusual, continual, or heavy, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor or nurse about it.
Some women find that the sponge can absorb some of the natural vaginal secretions. To help prevent this, it's important to wet the sponge thoroughly before use. If you follow the directions carefully and still experience dryness, it is recommended to use a water-based lubricant with the sponge. If you'd prefer not to do this, it may be worth considering alternative methods of contraception.
The Today Sponge is simply a brand name for one of the first sponges made available on the US market in 1983.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? Make an appointment with your doctor or nurse today.
How long the sponge offers protection.
The overall rate at which the sponge is effective with typical use.
The year the Today sponge was created by Bruce Ward Vorhauer.
- It’s self-administered and used on demand.
- It’s hormone-free and can be an option for women who experience unwanted effects from hormones.
- It can be used when breastfeeding.
- Placing and removing the sponge can take practice.
- It requires careful tracking of the hours it is used, because it must be left in place for six hours after sex, but not more than 24 hours in total.
- It may not be suitable for women who have given birth.
- It doesn’t protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
NEED ADVICE? SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL
Seek out an appointment with your doctor or nurse for further support that meets your needs.