Advice about Diaphragms

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Milex diaphragm - how to get one

March 2005

After doing some research, I am interested in purchasing a Milex silicone diaphragm.. They have a website, but do not sell to individuals, or through pharmacies - only through health-care providers. I would like to know who sells them, as well as whether HealthNet insurance would cover it (they DO cover diaphragms through pharmacies on our plan). Any info or experience appreciated. Anon.

Why not ask your HMO directly? Anon.

Excruciating pain when fitting diaphragm

Sept 2004

I recently tried to get fitted for a diaphragm and the process was VERY painful for me. I had tons of pain and pressure in the walls of my vagina and cervix. The pressure was felt in my uterus even. Even with the correct, size, I was still in a great deal of pain and discomfort. It was so bad, I decided not to get it. The next day, I still felt some pain/pressure. The doctor and nurse was baffled, but are diaphragms generally for women who have already given birth (I have no children)? I personally NEVER heard any women having this much pain with them. Is it more common then I think? anon

I had exactly this experience -- but with a diaphragm I had been using for several years (hadn't had any kids at that point). When I first got involved with my husband, and began having sex much more frequently than I had been, it started causing me serious trouble. One time, after I used it, I was sore for two days, with really unpleasant pressure, exactly as you describe. The doctor said it fit just fine. I never did figure out what was wrong, so I put it in the trash. Karen
I used a diaphragm for many years before I had children. I had several fittings, and while they might have been uncomfortable, I would never say they hurt. Certainly having a diaphragm inserted was more comfortable than the speculum. However, I can well imagine if you did find it very painful, then whatever you irritated would still hurt the next day. Regular use of a diaphragm is more comfortable than the fittings. Still, if you had alot of pain in the fitting, a diaphragm might not be for you. Old Diaphragm User
Some women's (about 20%) uteruses are tipped backwards (''retroverted'') and many things cause us pain that don't cause pain to women with uteruses tipped in the standard direction. I can't wear a diaphragm, and my mom used to get pain so intense she would faint until she stopped using hers. Every exam I used to get would be excruciatingly painful until my wonderful midwife said, ''oh, you have a retroverted uterus and the exam has to be done differently.'' Now I warn all my doctors about my retroverted uterus and things are MUCH better. Good luck!
Sounds awful! Diaphragms were my primary method of birth control, and I had some pain that doctors attributed to a retroverted uterus as well as scar tissue from abdominal surgeries. But it was just brief pain with insertion and removal. I hope you find out the cause. Good luck. mom of two grown kids
I never had any pain from a diaphragm fitting, either before or after having children. anon.
I couldn't use a diaphragm successfully because of discomfort. I wouldn't call it excruciating pain, but I was always achey when using it. It was really the most uncomfortable when I ovulated...which was kind of the point! I also cramp during pap smears and feel the after effects of a thorough pelvic for a few minutes--achiness as body resettles. I've been told I have a tipped uterus. I switched to fertility awareness and condoms after this, but you might find a cervical cap less irritating since it is smaller. Just so you know despite this 'sensitivity' I was able to do labor w/o pain meds. One size just doesn't fit all! anonymous
I have found that it is very painful to wear my diaphragm when I am at all gassy -- the pain goes away after I remove it, but it's quite bad while it's going on. Sara

Milex or Ortho Diaphragm?

June 2004

Warning: This is about contraceptives, so don't read on if it embarrasses you!

Yikes - my diaphragm needs replacing, but the model I've always used, the KORO-FLEX, by Koromex, has been discontinued! It seems the market leader (as in: only easily obtained option) is the All-Flex by Ortho, but it really flexes all over the place, and I doubt I'll be able to successfully use it (haven't actually tried it lately). A web search found another diaphragm that sounds almost like the Koro-flex, made by a company called Milex. Like the Koro-flex, it has an arcing spring (not coil) that must be squeezed together in only one place (not all directions). It is different in that it has a wider rim (claims to hold in the spermicide, and provide a better grip), and is silicon rather than latex.

My o.b. doesnt have any ''test models'' of various styles to try out at her office, so I'm looking for information to help me make my best guess as to what else will work for me. At this point, I'm not looking at non-diaphragm options, though I suppose that may come next!

My questions -
-have any of you former Koro-flex users successfully switched to one of the Ortho models? Or not?
-have any of you tried the Milex? If so - where did you obtain it (none of the local pharmacies seem able to get it), and how has it been?

Thanks for your feedback - we need to choose something! anon. please

As an OB/GYN nurse practitioner, I have fit many many women for diaphragms (and have used one on and off for over 20 yrs), and have worked with all the ''models'' you mention (different places I've worked have had different fitting sets), and I can tell you, it doesn't really matter. Yes, the rim is slightly different, but the sizing is all standard, so unless you have an allergy to latex and need the silicone instead, you won't notice much difference. I find the arcing spring a bit challenging, actually, because you have to find the groove to squeeze it, whereas with the ''All-flex'' (or similar), you just squeeze it anywhere. Anyway, get whichever is easiest to get, and have fun trying it out :) DB
It's been six years since I used a diaphragm (why I didn't post the first time), but I did use it for 15 years. I've had both an orthoflex and a koroflex. I used the orthoflex first (flexes all the way around), and though at first it did spring out of my hands a couple times, I got used to it. Then I got a koroflex (only bends in once place), which I found maybe a little easier, but since I had already used the other, it didn't matter to me much. I found the insertion process to be the only difference between the two. Once in, and for retrieval, they seems to function the same. (I only stopped using the diaphragm, because my husband is not fertile.) former diaphragm user
I love my Milex diaphragm. I can't remember when I got my first one but it was many many years ago when I was having problems with urinary tract infections and my health care provider suggested the Milex, which I have used ever since (for maybe 20 years now). I used to get them easily for years, but then recently did have a difficult time finding one after a long break TTC and then having the baby and the resulting change in size of diaphragm. I was able to get the prescription from an OBGYN doctor, but none of the pharmacies carry it, so I had to order it from Milex directly. p is the site, but I was given a paper order form from the doctor I saw that I sent in the mail. Good luck, Anon for this one