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The Today Sponge Makes a Comeback

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The Today Sponge is back in United States pharmacies.

In an effort to become as popular as it was in the 1980s and 1990s, its packaging has a new look to target younger generations of women.

The contraceptive sponge, a sponge made of plastic foam, helps to prevent pregnancy by covering the cervix and keeping sperm from entering the uterus, and by rendering sperm immobile through the release of spermicide. According to The New York Times, the sponge was introduced in 1983 and disappeared just over a decade later due to manufacturing issues. Though rereleased in 2005, it was not as popular as it once was and the company was forced to declare bankruptcy two years later.

Though the sponge is one of many reliable forms of birth control that maintains a loyal following, it has its disadvantages. It can be difficult to remove and the spermicide can cause vaginal irritation for some women. It, like oral contraceptives, does not prevent against sexually transmitted diseases. And, when used correctly, the sponge is only 89 to 91 percent effective. Still, it's available over the counter, is relatively affordable and is hormone-free.

I'm interested to see the reception and sales of the Today Sponge and think it's important for women to have lots of options when choosing a method of birth control that works for them.

Are you loyal to the sponge? Do you recommend it as a form of birth control?

Nina Jacinto is a freelance blogger living in the Bay Area. Her other writing can be found at her website.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

this is the way to use it: The sponge which is inserted vaginally, is the first and only female contraceptive to combine a spermicide with a barrier contraceptive, designed to prevent pregnancy for 24 hours.

November 6, 2009 - 1:20pm
EmpowHER Guest

yes And this time it is repackaged for a younger generation who may not remember the Today Sponge — or the 1995 episode of “Seinfeld” in which Elaine hoarded her stash, for use only with boyfriends she deemed “spongeworthy.”

November 5, 2009 - 10:05am
EmpowHER Guest

I also just went off the pill & am in a committed relationship. I am trying to track my cycle using the sympto thermal method, with contraception during fertile days. I bought some sponges & haven't noticed irritation yet, but we've only used it once. The only thing weird about it is that he could feel the "strap" and it was distracting; and it took a little while for me to get used to the spermicide foaming.
Either way, I hope it works out for me because I'm having an extremely hard time finding a doctor who will set me up with any kind of non-hormonal birth control. It's definitely important for women to have a lot of options because unfortunately birth control is almost always something we have full responsibility for.

May 30, 2009 - 1:22am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job on your own of taking control and leading your choices for sexual health and contraception. While a physician's advice and perspective is always valuable, when it comes to making more natural choices from the birth control we use to the dietary supplements we take, traditionally trained physicians lack a holistic perspective. It is sort of like asking a butcher to recommend a vegetarian burger. There is little to no separation between the medical field and pharmaceutical companies -- and our cultural position has long been "better living through chemistry." We are used to looking for a "magic pill" to resolve our issues and meet our needs, when sometimes the best course of action is based in personal responsibility and body awareness.
I have found some very fine options for more natural or hormone-free family planning on the market www.naturallyforher.com

June 14, 2009 - 4:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

I loved your article! I just quit taking the pill and am looking for a new method of birth control. I was wondering if anyone knows how likely irritation is? How dangerous is it to have the spermicide in your body?
I'm sure that it is less dangerous than the pill however.
Sexually transmitted diseases are not an issue for me as I am in a longterm committed relationship.

May 29, 2009 - 10:07pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I have used the sponge off and on again for years and have never experienced vaginal irritation from Nonoxynol 9, the active ingredient. I think sensitivity to this chemical, like any chemical, is an individual issue. However, one must use the sponge in conjunction with a condom to prevent STD transmission. This was the original concern about the spermicide -- that any irritation caused to the vagina/cervix could create exposure to HIV.

November 6, 2009 - 8:18pm
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