Choosing The Right Spermicide For You
You've decided to use a barrier contraceptive for your birth control plan, and health benefits are at the top of your list of why. No hormones, no side effects, and eco-friendly — what could be better.
But then comes the spermicide. Most barrier contraceptives must be used with a spermicide to seal any gaps and make sure no viable sperm sneak past the barrier. But those spermicides are filled with chemicals and toxins, and that's the last thing you want spoiling your natural contraception.
Nonoxynol-9 Based Spermicides
Almost all spermicides contain nonoxynol-9, a highly toxic chemical surfactant often found in detergents. When N-9 is doing it's job right, it is breaking down the cell walls of the sperm, making them totally impotent.
But it's breaking down more then just sperm cells. It also breaks down cells of the vagina wall and the penis leading to irritation. Even more, N-9 also kills beneficial bacteria and skin cells, disrupting the vaginal flora and leaving you susceptible to yeast infections and UTIs.
Besides the common rashes and itchiness reported by both men and women after using spermicide, we know that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in it. The delicate skin in our vagina readily absorbs whatever we put on it, so that nonoxynol-9 directly enters our blood stream, spreading toxins throughout our entire body.
Nonoxynol-9 (Nonionic Surfactant) Based Spermicides
Nonoxynol-9 (N-9) is the most common active ingredient in spermicide. Spermicides which contain N-9 come in many forms such as gels, films and foams. Nonoxynol-9 is an organic compound that is used as a surfactant and is a member of nonoxynol family of nonionic surfactants. Cleaning and cosmetic products often contain N-9 and related compounds.
When researchers observed nonoxynol-9’s ability to kill microbes in vitro, they initially thought it could be used to prevent the transmission of sexual transmitted diseases (STDs). Recent research however, has found that N-9 might actually increase a person’s risk of contracting STDs, especially when frequently used. Researchers came to this conclusion after noticing that the harsh chemicals in N-9 causes tiny abrasions inside the sensitive vaginal and anal walls.
Octoxynol-9 (Nonionic Surfactant) Based Spermicides
Octoxynol-9 (also known as Triton X-100) is made with a different chemical than N-9 but is still a nonionic surfactant. Spermicides made with octoxynol-9 may be good alternatives for people who experience unpleasant reactions or allergies after using nonoxynol-9. Products which contain octoxynol-9 include Koromex Cream and Ortho-Gynol Jelly. Unfortunately, these products can be hard to find.
Benzalkonium Chloride (Cationic Surfactant) Based Spermicides
Benzalkonium chloride (also known as alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride and ADBAC) is a mixture of alkylbenzyldimethylammonium chlorides of various even-numbered (alkyl) chain lengths. This product is a nitrogenous cationic surface-acting agent similar to nonoxynol-9 and octoxynol-9. ADBAC is most commonly found in vaginal suppositories, vaginal creams and vaginal tablets manufactured in France by Pharmatex. ADBAC is also the active ingredient in Lanzas Contraceptive Cream which is distributed in Spain by Faes Farm S.A