Other names: female condom
what is the internal (female) condom?
The internal condom, also sometimes called the female condom or femidom, is placed inside the vagina to catch sperm and stop it from entering the vagina.
It prevents a pregnancy from occurring, but also protects against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Internal condoms can also be used inside the anus.
The internal condom is a type of barrier method
The internal condom belongs to a group of contraceptives called barrier methods. Barrier contraception methods work by physically stopping the sperm from fertilising the egg. Some barrier methods (e.g. condoms) also provide protection against some sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
How does the internal condom work?
Internal condoms cover the inside of the vagina and collect semen during ejaculation.
This keeps sperm from entering the vagina.
Female condoms prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm getting to the womb and fertilising an egg.
How effective is the internal condom?
The internal condom is 79% effective with typical use meaning that 21 women out of 100 using this method will become pregnant. However, when used perfectly it can be up to 95% effective.
Compared to modern hormonal methods, condoms are less reliable and effective in protecting against pregnancy, but they are the only method that will protect against STIs, including HIV/AIDS.
There are a few things that can stop an internal condom from working. This includes if the condom breaks, if it’s not put in place before the penis touches the vagina and if the penis enters between the side of the vagina and the condom.
What does the internal condom look like?
The internal condom is made of a thin, strong plastic called polyurethane, or a substance called nitrile. It is a tube with flexible rings at each end – one end is closed and the other is open. The closed end is placed inside the vagina, whilst the open end sits outside the vagina and covers the external genitalia (vulva). The female condom is wider than the external (male) condom. It comes in one size and measures 17 cm in length and 7.8 cm at its widest diameter.
No. The internal condom is hormone-free.
Most people can safely use female condoms. You can also use them immediately after having a baby, miscarriage or abortion. An advantage of internal condoms is the control it gives the user. If you are inserting the condom yourself, you are in control of how and when it’s used.
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0082 September 2023