Effectiveness rates for spermicides range from 71% (typical use) to 82% (perfect use). Foam is generally considered more effective than jelly, cream, film, or suppositories. However, the most successful type of spermicide is one that a couple feels comfortable with and uses consistently.
Spermicides can be purchased without a physician’s prescription, and they are simple to use. In addition, spermicides provide lubrication during intercourse, a partner can participate in inserting them but does not have to be involved, and there are no serious medical side effects.
Spermicides must be used each time a couple engages in sexual intercourse, which may be expensive depending on frequency of intercourse. In addition, there is an increase in postcoital drip, some couples may be allergic or have an adverse reaction, spermicides often have an unpleasant taste, and they may cause vaginal skin irritations or an increase in urinary tract infections (Hatcher et al., 2004).
Spermicides are widely used in some countries, including Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and many European and Scandinavian countries (Francoeur & Noonan, 2004). However, in many other countries, including Botswana, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, and Puerto Rico, spermicides are not widely used, probably due to the relatively high cost or an unwillingness to touch the genitals.