Cervical barriers can be left in place for up to 48 hours, and can be inserted earlier and left in longer than a diaphragm. They do not affect hormonal levels, are immediately ef­fective, and not permanent. In addition, they are made of silicone and users do not ex­perience latex-related allergies. Partner involvement is possible, but not necessary, with these methods. Finally, Lea’s Shield has a one-way release valve to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome.


The use of cervical barriers may increase a woman’s risk of toxic shock syndrome, cause abnormal Pap smears, increase the risk of urinary tract infections, increase vaginal odors, cause cervical dam­age, and increase postcoital drip. In addition, in the United States they must be fitted by a healthcare provider, may be felt by the male partner during sexual intercourse, may dislodge during penile thrusting, and may cause discomfort (Cates & Stewart, 2004).