Mechanical and chemical contraceptives

Synonyms in a broader sense

Pill, birth control pill, condom, diaphragm


Contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy. There are different methods of contraception.

Do you want basic information about your options for contraception? You can find them all with us

  • Overview of contraception methods

Different methods

There are several mechanical ones Contraceptives, to the fertile days to bridge the woman. We will go into the following methods in detail.

Mechanical contraceptive methods:

  • Condoms
  • Diaphragm (Vaginal pessary)
  • Copper spiral (Intrauterine device)
  • LEA contraceptive
  • Gynefix

Chemical contraceptive methods:

  • Gels

Pearl Index

How safe the individual contraceptive methods are is checked in clinical studies. The reliability of a particular contraceptive can be assessed using the Pearl Index (PI).

The Pearl Index shows how many out of 100 women got pregnant using a single specific method of contraception in a specific period of time. A Pearl Index of 5, for example, means that 5 out of 100 women became pregnant using a certain method of contraception. The bigger is the numerical value of the Pearl Index, the more unsafe is the contraceptive.

Condom (condom)

Condom as a contraceptive

Condoms are one of the most popular forms of contraception. They are made of latex skins. For latex allergy sufferers, they are also available in polyurethane. They are placed on the penis before sexual intercourse begins and act as a mechanical barrier to prevent semen from entering the woman's vagina during ejaculation.
When used properly, they are considered safe. The Pearl Index is between 1 and 12.
The large fluctuations in the Pearl Index result from incorrect use of condoms. Condoms that are too old or incorrectly stored can burst quickly and lose their effectiveness. When using a condom, the expiry date on the packaging should be observed.
In addition, it must be ensured that the condoms purchased are branded condoms with the corresponding test seal.
The condoms themselves should be stored in a dry, not too warm place. The trouser pocket or the wallet are therefore not ideal storage places and reduce the safety of the condoms.
Careless handling, such as opening the pack with your teeth or using too sharp fingernails, also reduces security.
How to use condoms correctly is explained in each condom pack in a manual in words and pictures and should be made clear if you have not had so much experience with the use of condoms.

Find out more about this through the article: Put the condom on properly
A new invention for contraception in men is the spermatic duct valve. You can find out what that is at:
The spermatic duct valve - an evolution in contraception?

If a condom bursts during sexual intercourse, the gynecologist should be consulted, unless hormonal contraceptives are also used. The gynecologist must then decide whether a “morning-after pill” is necessary and the woman whether she wants it or whether she could arrange a possible pregnancy with herself.

The big advantage over other contraceptives is clearly the prevention of the transmission of diseases such as:

  • HIV
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis or
  • Clamydia.

So far, condoms are the only contraceptives that can prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. So even if you use another smelting agent and you are not in a permanent relationship, you should definitely use them additionally.

Are you interested in other hormone-free contraception methods? Find out more about the topic on our overview page:

  • Hormone-free contraception

Diaphragm (vaginal pessary)

The diaphragm is made of silicone or rubber and has a bowl-shaped shape. They are available in different sizes. The gynecologist determines in an examination which size each individual woman needs. Once the size has been determined, the diaphragm can be purchased without a prescription in pharmacies or online.

They are inserted in front of the cervix (portio uteri) like a tampon a maximum of two hours before sexual intercourse and then checked for correct fit. After intercourse, they have to remain in the vagina for at least eight hours to ensure that no sperm can enter the uterus. After removing the diaphragm, it should be rinsed off with lukewarm water. A diaphragm can be used again for up to a year.

It should be used in addition with a spermicidal gel in order to increase the safety of contraception. The spermicidal gel is simply applied to the diaphragm before inserting the diaphragm.

The Pearl Index of this contraceptive method is between 1-20.

The spiral

The copper spiral consists of a T-shaped body made of plastic. The long part of the T is wrapped in copper wire. The IUD is inserted into the womb (uterus) by the gynecologist during menstrual bleeding (intramenstrual). The procedure is hardly painful.
In the meantime, however, the uterus can be injured, which is why the copper IUD is recommended for young women who want to have children later not is recommended.
Mild pain may arise a few hours after the procedure. After the procedure and at regular intervals, the correct fit of the IUD should be checked by a specialist in gynecology / gynecology.
The copper IUD can remain in the uterus for about two years and should then be replaced.

On the one hand, the copper coil acts as a mechanical barrier in the uterus and thus prevents sperm from reaching the fallopian tube, which could lead to fertilization of the egg. To others, the copper wire permanently releases copper ions. On the one hand, these have a killing effect on the sperm cells (spermicide) and on the other hand disrupt the structure of the uterine lining (endometrium). In this way, should the egg cell fertilize, the egg cell cannot implant itself in the uterus.

The advantages of the copper IUD are its long preventive effect. For practically two years, you don't have to worry about contraception and you don't have to think about taking pills every day as with the birth control pill / pill.

Disadvantages can arise in the form of heavier and longer menstrual bleeding with abdominal pain.
In addition, especially in the first few months after use, the IUD may be rejected or infections may occur. A fallopian tube pregnancy (extrauterine pregnancy = EUG) occurs more often with contraception with the copper IUD than without the use of contraceptives.

The pearl index is between 1 and 3, depending on the model of the copper spiral.

You can also read our article about inserting the hormone / copper IUD below: The onset of the spiral

LEA contraceptive

The LEA contraceptive is a mechanical contraceptive made of silicone that can be inserted by the woman herself. It is flexible, has a cup-shaped recess, a valve and a control loop. It is inserted into the vagina like a tampon. When inserting, the presence of a valve creates a negative pressure.
The LEA contraceptive is thus sucked onto the cervix and is therefore securely and firmly fixed to it. To check whether it fits really well and securely, the control loop should be pulled slightly after the introduction. If you feel resistance when pulling, the LEA contraceptive fits perfectly. Overall, the LEA contraceptive should not be fixed to the cervix (portio below) for longer than 48 hours. It can be introduced just before intercourse, or a few hours beforehand. It is important that it is still attached to the cervix for at least eight hours after sexual intercourse to make sure that really no sperm get into the uterus.

It can be removed by turning the control thread or by gently pulling on the silicone body itself. After use, the LEA contraceptivum should be cleaned with lukewarm water. Depending on the frequency of use, it can be kept for up to a year. It can be obtained without a prescription and can be bought in the pharmacy or online. An adjustment by the gynecologist is not necessary as the LEA contraceptive is only available in one size. Because a vacuum is created during insertion, it also fits every woman.

A disadvantage of the LEA contraceptive is that it is often felt during sexual intercourse and seen as disturbing.

The Pearl Index is around 2.9. By coating the silicone with a spermicidal (spermicidal) gel before insertion, the Pearl Index can be reduced to approx. 2.2.



The Gynefix contraceptive is a copper chain that is inserted into the uterus (uterus) by a specialist in gynecology / gynecology during menstruation, where it can remain there for at most five years and have a preventive effect. The copper chain is securely fixed in the uterus and can therefore not slip out.

The preventive effect comes about because copper ions are permanently released, which kill sperm (spermicidal effect) and also prevent the build-up of the uterine lining (endometrium) and thus the egg cell from implanting.

The contraceptive is applicable to women of all ages. Gynefix has been on the European market for years and has been available directly in Germany since 2011. It is CE-certified and approved here according to the Medical Devices Act.

The use of the copper chain is usually a private service. The costs vary and depend on a number of factors: the type of anesthesia, examinations before insertion and ultrasound checks after insertion.
In general, the cost is around 200-300 euros.
In exceptional cases, the health insurance company will at least partially cover the costs; it is best to speak to your health insurance company directly.

Disadvantages of the Gynefix are possible infections.

The Pearl Index is 0.5. So the contraceptive is very safe.

Please also read the article: GyneFix® copper chain


Contraceptive gels are gels that kill sperm. They can be used in combination with diaphragms, LEA contraceptive and Gynefix together.