Non-Hormonal Birth Control

A new on-demand, non-hormonal birth control option.

Phexxi is a non-hormonal birth control that comes in the form of a vaginal gel. It is used right before penis-in-vagina sex, lasts for an hour, and is effective immediately.

Phexxi is meant to be used “on demand” and only when you need it, but is not effective if used after sex.

How does Phexxi prevent pregnancy?

Phexxi is a new form of birth control, called a vaginal pH modulator. Phexxi works to prevent pregnancy by keeping the pH of your vagina within its normal range of 3.5 to 4.5.

Once the vaginal gel is inserted, it attaches to the vaginal and cervical surfaces in order to remain in place (no leakage) and maintain the natural acidity of the vagina. Normally, when semen enters the vagina, it raises the pH over 7, which is a level that helps sperm thrive. However, a sperm’s ability to move is lowered in a pH of 3.5 to 4.5 and reduces the chances that sperm will be able to reach an egg.

How do I insert Phexxi?

Phexxi vaginal gel comes with an applicator that is similar to a tampon and is inserted into the vagina. Each prescription comes with 12 single dose applicators.

You should use one dose of Phexxi before each act of sex and within one hour of having sex.

A new Phexxi applicator should be used if you are having sex for more than 1 hour or if you have penis-in-vagina sex more than once per hour.

Phexxi can be used during any time of the menstrual cycle and anytime after an abortion, childbirth, or miscarriage.

Effectiveness

Phexxi is 86 to 93% effective in preventing pregnancy. But why such a range?

For all methods of contraception we offer, effectiveness depends on how well you use it. Effectiveness rates are described in 2 terms:

  • Perfect use – that is, you are using it consistently and correctly every single time it is to be used/taken/changed.

  • Typical use – this means you are using it consistently and correctly most of the time, but not all of the time (nobody is perfect!)

So with effectiveness being 86% (typical) – 93% (perfect), this means that with perfect use, 7 women per year will get pregnant, and with typical use, 14 women per year will get pregnant.

In order to further increase the effectiveness of Phexxi or other contraceptive methods…Phexxi may be used with: condoms made with latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene, and vaginal diaphragms.

Phexxi may also be used with vaginal products including metronidazole, miconazole, and tioconazole.

Side Effects

The most common side effects with Phexxi use are:

  • Vaginal burning
  • Vaginal pain

  • Vaginal itching

  • Vaginal discomfort

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Yeast infection

Other side effects include:

  • Urinary tract infections and/or pain with urinating
  • Bacterial vaginosis

  • Genital discomfort

Some male partners reported burning, itching, and pain in their genitals with Phexxi use, but symptoms were generally mild.

Who should NOT use Phexxi:

  • People with recurrent urinary tract infections or urinary tract problems
  • People with allergies to lactic acid, citric acid, potassium bitartrate, or any of the ingredients in Phexxi (including sex partners with these allergies).
  • People using vaginal rings should not use Phexxi.

What Phexxi is NOT:

  • Phexxi is not a spermicide. It is a vaginal pH modulator.
  • Phexxi does not prevent any sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Phexxi should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Phexxi is not effective if inserted after penis-in-vagina sex.