Are you tired of the same old birth control options that often come with unwanted side effects and a laundry list of concerns? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 women in the United States use birth control at some point in their lives? That’s a staggering statistic, highlighting just how essential contraception is in our society.
But here’s the catch—what if there was a birth control method that didn’t require you to swallow a pill daily, deal with hormone-related mood swings, or endure the hassle of regular doctor’s visits for shots or implants? Enter Phexxi Vaginal Gel, the game-changer in birth control that has been making waves in recent years. This revolutionary product is designed to offer women a new, effective, and more natural way to take control of their reproductive health. The big question is: Is Phexxi right for you? Let’s dive into the details and find out!
What is Phexxi Vaginal Gel?
Phexxi is a non-hormonal birth control prescription vaginal gel that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 22, 2020. It is the first and only hormone-free prescription birth control gel that can be used as an on-demand contraceptive method.
Phexxi vaginal gel is designed to prevent pregnancy and comes in the form of a gel that is used in the vaginal area. Unlike traditional spermicides, Phexxi takes advantage of the natural acidity of the vagina and sperm’s vulnerability to acidic environments. It only needs to be used before sexual intercourse, making it a convenient option for those who do not want to use daily or weekly birth control methods. Importantly, Phexxi does not contain hormones, offering an alternative for individuals who prefer non-hormonal contraception.
Here are some key features of Phexxi:
- Phexxi is a prescription vaginal gel that prevents pregnancy.
- It is a non-hormonal birth control method.
- Phexxi works by creating a poor environment for sperm to survive in. It does so by keeping the pH level of the vagina acidic, which decreases the ability of sperm to move.
- Phexxi is not a spermicide, but you use it in a similar way.
- Phexxi works even better when you combine it with another method of birth control — like condoms, internal condoms, withdrawal (aka pulling out), or a diaphragm.
- Phexxi can be used on its own or in conjunction with barrier methods such as condoms, cervical caps, and diaphragms for increased effectiveness.
- Phexxi can be used any time during a person’s menstrual cycle and as soon as it is safe to have sex again after giving birth, having an abortion, or experiencing a miscarriage.
- Phexxi is covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without co-pay or deductible, effective for those with plan years starting in 2023.
- Phexxi doesn’t protect you from STDs. But you can help prevent STDs by getting tested regularly and using condoms. And using condoms with Phexxi will give you extra protection from pregnancy, too.
It is important to note that Phexxi vaginal gel is not effective when used after sex. Also, rare cases (0.36%) of bladder and kidney infection have been reported. If you have a history of urinary tract problems that keep coming back, you should not use Phexxi. Contact your healthcare provider if you are experiencing genitourinary side effects such as vaginal burning, itching, discharge, genital discomfort (including in male partners), yeast infection, urinary tract infection or bacterial vaginosis.
what are the active ingredients in phexxi?
The active ingredients in Phexxi vaginal gel are:
- Lactic acid (1.8%)
- Citric acid (1%)
- Potassium bitartrate (0.4%)
These three ingredients work together to create an acidic environment in the vagina, which reduces sperm motility and helps prevent pregnancy. Lactic acid is naturally produced in the vagina and is also found in dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Citric acid gives citrus fruits their tart, sour taste, and potassium bitartrate is used in cooking as cream of tartar.
How does the Phexxi Birth control Gel work?
Phexxi vaginal gel is designed to prevent pregnancy by maintaining an acidic vaginal pH, which creates an inhospitable environment for sperm. It is not a spermicide, but rather a vaginal pH modulator (VPM) that works by immediately reducing sperm motility through the maintenance of an acidic vaginal pH and the creation of a viscous gel barrier. The gel contains three active ingredients: lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate.
How is Phexxi Vaginal Gel used?
To use Phexxi vaginal gel, you insert one dose of the gel into your vagina up to an hour before having sex. One dose is effective for each act of penis-in-vagina sex, so you would need to insert another dose if you want to have sex again within one hour. Phexxi is not effective when used after sex. It can be used on its own or in conjunction with barrier methods such as condoms, cervical caps, and diaphragms for added protection. Phexxi is also safe to use with most types of hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, or shot, but should not be used with the birth control ring (NuvaRing or Annovera).
What should someone do if they miss a dose?
If someone misses a dose of Phexxi vaginal gel, they should follow these steps:
- Insert the missed dose as soon as possible: Phexxi should be inserted into the vagina within 1 hour before each act of vaginal sex. If a dose is missed, it should be inserted as soon as the person remembers, as long as it is still within the 1-hour window before sex.
- Use additional contraception: If a dose of Phexxi is missed or not inserted in time, it is recommended to use an additional method of contraception, such as a condom or another form of birth control, to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
- Do not double the dose: Do not insert a double dose of Phexxi to make up for a missed dose. Only one dose should be inserted within a 1-hour period before each act of vaginal sex.
What precautions to take before taking Phexxi Vaginal Gel?
Before using Phexxi vaginal gel, there are some precautions that should be taken into consideration. Here are some of the precautions to take before using Phexxi:
- Wash your hands before and after use: It is important to wash your hands before and after using Phexxi to prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Avoid getting the medication in your eyes: If Phexxi gets into your eyes, rinse them with cool water and contact your doctor if eye irritation persists.
- Use an effective barrier method: Phexxi does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it is recommended to use an effective barrier method such as a latex or polyurethane condom or dental dam during all sexual activity to reduce the risk of infection.
- Avoid using Phexxi after vaginal intercourse: Phexxi must be used within 1 hour before vaginal intercourse to work effectively. It will not work if it is used after vaginal intercourse.
- Avoid using Phexxi with vaginal rings: Phexxi should not be used with vaginal rings such as NuvaRing or Annovera.
- Avoid using Phexxi if you have a history of recurrent urinary tract infections or urinary tract abnormalities: Phexxi may increase the risk of bladder infection (cystitis) and acute kidney infection (pyelonephritis) in people with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections or urinary tract abnormalities.
- Consult a healthcare provider: Before using Phexxi, it is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine if it is a safe and appropriate birth control option for you. They can also provide guidance on how to use Phexxi correctly and answer any questions or concerns you may have.
How does Phexxi Vaginal Gel interact with other medications?
Phexxi vaginal gel is not known to interact with other drugs or supplements. However, it is still important to inform your doctor about any other medications you are taking before using Phexxi, as drug interactions can occur. This helps your doctor determine whether Phexxi is safe for you to use. Additionally, Phexxi may be used in combination with other methods of birth control, such as condoms, diaphragms, birth control pills, patches, inserts, implants, or injections.
How safe is Phexxi Gel?
Phexxi vaginal gel is considered a safe and effective form of birth control. Clinical studies have shown Phexxi to be about 86% effective at preventing pregnancy with typical use. However, there are some precautions to take before using Phexxi. For example, it is important to wash your hands before and after use, avoid getting the medication in your eyes, and use an effective barrier method to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Additionally, Phexxi should be avoided in women who have had recurrent urinary tract infections or abnormalities, or are using a vaginal ring. If you have any concerns about the safety of Phexxi, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider for guidance and support.
What are possible side effects of Phexxi Vaginal Gel?
While Phexxi vaginal gel is generally considered safe, there are some potential side effects to be aware of. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials include:
- Vaginal burning
- Vaginal itching
- Vaginal discomfort
- Vulvovaginal pruritus
- Local discomfort (burning, itching, pain, other)
- Vulvovaginal mycotic infection
- Urinary tract infection
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Vaginal discharge
- Genital discomfort in male partners
Most of these side effects are localized to the vagina and are considered mild to moderate in severity. They may go away during treatment as the body adjusts to the medicine. However, if you experience severe or prolonged genital irritation, a local hypersensitivity reaction, or urinary tract symptoms, it is recommended to consult your healthcare provider.
How to store and handle Phexxi Gel?
To store and handle Phexxi birth control, follow these guidelines:
- Store unopened Phexxi applicators in the original foil package: Keep your unopened Phexxi applicators in the original foil package at room temperature in a dry place.
- Do not use Phexxi after the expiration date: Check the expiration date on the package before using Phexxi. Do not use it if it has expired.
- Use the applicator provided: Phexxi comes with a pre-filled applicator that should be used to insert the gel into the vagina. Do not use any other applicator or device to insert Phexxi.
- Dispose of unused medication safely: If you have unused Phexxi, it is important to dispose of it safely to prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. Ask your pharmacist for information about disposing of Phexxi.
Where can one get Phexxi Gel?
Phexxi birth control gel is available by prescription and can be obtained from various sources:
- Doctor’s office: You can get a prescription for Phexxi from a doctor or nurse at a doctor’s office or health clinic.
- Planned Parenthood: Local Planned Parenthood health centers can provide prescriptions for Phexxi, and in some cases, they may offer it for free or at a low cost, even if you don’t have health insurance.
- Pharmacist: In a few states, you may be able to get a prescription for Phexxi directly from a pharmacist.
- Telehealth services: Some telehealth platforms offer the option to schedule a visit with a healthcare provider to discuss Phexxi and get a prescription. The medication can then be delivered to your door.
- Phexxi website: You may be able to get a prescription through the Phexxi website, which offers information on how to get the medication and provides a savings program for eligible women.
- Local pharmacy: Once you have a prescription, you can have it filled at your local pharmacy. Some online pharmacies, such as Optum Store, also offer Phexxi with the option for online prescription refills and delivery.
What are Phexxi Gel alternatives?
There are several alternatives to Phexxi birth control gel that are available. Here are some of the options:
- Hormonal birth control: Hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill, patch, ring, shot, and hormonal IUD, work by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
- Barrier methods: Barrier methods, such as condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, work by physically blocking sperm from entering the uterus.
- Copper IUD: The copper IUD is a non-hormonal form of birth control that is inserted into the uterus and works by preventing fertilization and implantation of the egg.
- Fertility awareness methods: Fertility awareness methods involve tracking your menstrual cycle and avoiding sex during the fertile window when you are most likely to get pregnant.
- Sterilization: Sterilization is a permanent form of birth control that involves surgical procedures to block or cut the fallopian tubes in women or the vas deferens in men.
What are some User reviews about Phexxi Gel?
Here are some user reviews about Phexxi from Drugs.com:
- Positive reviews:
- A user reported that Phexxi was a salvation for them after struggling with unwanted side effects from other birth control methods. They also mentioned that they did not experience burning and itching and that it felt good to use.
- Another user mentioned that they have been using Phexxi for 6 months to 1 year along with the withdrawal method, and they have not had any adverse reactions or pregnancies. They found it very convenient and easy to use.
- A user who had been using Phexxi for 1 to 2 years mentioned that it was working out great for them, especially when used with the pull-out method. They also enjoyed the extra lubrication and being off the pill.
- Negative reviews:
- Some common side effects reported by users include vaginal burning, vaginal itching, vaginal yeast infection, urinary tract infection, vaginal area discomfort, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginal discharge. Women also reported genital discomfort, pain while urinating, and vaginal pain. Some male partners reported genital discomfort (including burning, itching, and pain).
- A user mentioned that they experienced burning and itching while using Phexxi, which was uncomfortable for them.
- Another user reported that they had a yeast infection after using Phexxi.
- Some users mentioned that they did not find Phexxi to be as effective as they had hoped, with a few reporting unintended pregnancies.
Overall, user reviews for Phexxi are mixed, with some users experiencing positive results and others experiencing negative side effects or finding it less effective than expected. It is important to note that individual experiences may vary, and it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if Phexxi is the right birth control option for you.
The following references were used to create the article about Phexxi Gel:
- Accessdata.fda.gov: This source provides the official FDA label for Phexxi Gel, which includes information about its composition, indications, dosage forms, and strengths.
- National Women’s Health Network: This source offers consumer health information about Phexxi Gel, explaining how it works, how to use it, and its advantages over other contraceptive methods.
- JAMA Network: This Medical Letter review summarizes the use of Phexxi Gel as a nonhormonal contraceptive and compares its efficacy and advantages/disadvantages with other available contraceptive methods.
- ScienceDirect: This article provides an overview of Phexxi Gel, including its mechanism of action and its role as a pH regulator for hormone-free, on-demand contraception.
- American Family Physician: This source discusses the use of Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, and Potassium Bitartrate (the active ingredients in Phexxi Gel) as a vaginal gel for contraception, its safety, and its common adverse effects.
- RxList: This source provides information about the uses, dosage, side effects, interactions, and storage of Phexxi Gel.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the use of Phexxi gel?
Phexxi gel is a non-hormonal contraceptive that is used to prevent pregnancy. It is a vaginal gel that works by maintaining the acidity of the vagina, which reduces the mobility of sperm, making it harder for them to fertilize an egg.
How long does Phexxi gel last?
Phexxi gel works immediately upon administration. One dose of Phexxi can last up to 1 hour, and an additional dose should be used if vaginal intercourse occurs more than 1 time within 1 hour, similar to using a new condom for each episode of vaginal intercourse.
Do doctors recommend Phexxi?
Yes, doctors may recommend Phexxi as a contraceptive option for women who prefer contraception only when they need it. In some cases, doctors may also recommend using Phexxi with certain other kinds of birth control, such as latex condoms and vaginal diaphragms.
Does Phexxi have side effects?
Like any medication, Phexxi may cause side effects in some individuals. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials include vaginal burning, itching, and discomfort. Some rare side effects may also occur, such as allergic reactions. If you experience any severe or life-threatening symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.
How much does Phexxi cost?
The cost of Phexxi can vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and pharmacy discounts. The average retail price for 12 applicators of Phexxi is around $250. However, with insurance coverage and pharmacy discounts, the out-of-pocket cost for Phexxi can be lower.
Why is Phexxi so expensive?
The high cost of Phexxi is due to various factors, including the cost of research and development, manufacturing, and marketing. Additionally, Phexxi is a new and innovative contraceptive option, which can contribute to its higher price compared to other more established birth control methods.
Phexxi Vaginal Gel presents a promising and innovative option in the realm of birth control. Its unique approach, which doesn’t rely on hormones, provides a potential solution for women seeking effective contraception without the common side effects associated with traditional methods. However, as with any medical decision, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if Phexxi is the right choice for you. While it offers a fresh approach, it may not be suitable for everyone. The key is to stay informed, ask questions, and make an informed decision that aligns with your personal health and lifestyle. Phexxi Gel is an exciting addition to the world of contraception, offering women more choices and control over their reproductive health.