What Should I Know Before Using an Internal Condom?

Written by Adrian Blackwell, MD

Learn about internal condoms, also known as FC2 or the female condom. Are they safe and effective for both vaginal and anal sex?

What is an internal condom?

The internal condom is used to practice safer sex. The internal condom - formerly known as FC 2 or a female condom was originally studied and designed for placement and use inside the vagina as an alternative to the traditional male condom that is placed over the penis. The internal condom is used to prevent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). As of 2019, the FDA has now changed the name from Female Condom to Internal Condom and has determined that it is also effective to use inside the anus for anyone seeking to practice safer anal sex.

Why use an internal condom?

Sex is a lot of fun. Sexually transmitted infections are not. And an unplanned pregnancy has the potential to be a difficult and life changing situation too. Internal condoms are another option one can use to practice safe sex. You can use internal condoms and be protected from STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia, or life-long diseases like HIV/AIDS or genital herpes.

They also work to prevent pregnancy. There are other reasons why some people prefer these types of condoms to traditional male condoms. They can be inserted several hours before actual use (up to 8 hours) - which means an erect penis is not required to put it in place. Some women have also reported extra stimulation of their clitoris while using the internal condom.

What are the side effects and/or risks of using internal condoms?

The great news here is the internal condoms do not have many side effects - you can read more about them from the manufacturer.

The most common potential side effects are either discomfort with using it or while putting it into place or local irritation - the condom can irritate the skin and parts of the body it is touching and make them itchy, cause a rash, or create a burning sensation. These effects are not common.

The condom can also fail. The condom can fail in the following ways:

  • It could break during use.
  • There can be “misdirection” - when a penis slips outside of the condom or pushes past the outside of the condom.
  • The condom can be pushed inside of the space (either vagina or anus) it is supposed to be protecting.
  • The internal condom might move or slip out.

Any of these failures of a condom during intercourse might mean a potential exposure to an STI or sperm which could lead to pregnancy. The failure rate for internal condoms is around 20% (read about it here These risks, potential failures, and stats are similar to traditional male condoms and their shortcomings.

Accurate Information

In order for us to assess your visit and determine if internal condoms make sense for you - it is very important that you provide full and accurate health information. If you have any questions about what something means, or how to get certain information just message us in the secure chat or call us and we can help. We need real data and it is important that you provide accurate information for your own safety.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of HeyDoctor, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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