Yesterday Sponge

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Question

I just wanted to contribute my 2 cents to the contraceptive sponge issue. The sponge gave me BV (Bacterial Vaginosis). I think the amount of spermicide was too much for my vaginal flora to handle and it got all out of whack. I used it briefly when I was in a relationship, but now that I am a single lady, it’s all condoms all the time.

Answer

There does seem to be a hell of a lot of nonoxynol-9 in the Today Sponge – 1000 mgs to be precise. I read a couple of scientific studies about N-9 and bacterial vaginosis, and it seems like women who used what they considered high doses of N-9 regularly were more prone to BV-like symptoms. Check this one out here:ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1380307/.
I found this study pretty fascinating, and it’s a good one to read if you’re interested in how products like these are tested and the inherent problems involved in collecting any data around sex (one being that you have to believe your participants are being honest with you, and by extension with their partners. All of these women were allegedly monogamous for these trials. There were around 300 of them over a period of seven months.)
You probably remember a bunch of years back when N-9 was being touted as a microbicide against HIV. After many tests were done (by what may be considered somewhat unethical means), it was concluded that N-9 may actually enhance HIV contraction rather than deter it. N-9’s abrasive action causes lesions and ulcerations to genital mucosa, permitting entry for the virus (phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/epiu-aepi/hiv-vih/nonoxynol-eng.php).

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