“Guidelines for Using Sponges”

Many women choose to work when they are menstruating. There are a variety of sponges and other devices including diaphragms that can be used.

If you choose to use sponges, these are the things you must keep in mind:

To insert the sponge:

  1. Wet your sponge with water, then, squeeze out the excess.
  2. Slide the sponge into your vagina using one or two fingers.
  3. Push it towards the small of your back (towards the cervix). Usually neither you, nor your partner can feel the sponge during sex. The sponge is similar to the feeling of the cervix.
  4. After each booking, remove the sponge, rinse under water, squeeze out excess water and re-insert.
  5. At the end of the shift remove the sponge and dispose of the sponge into the bin.  NEVER flush sponges down the toilet.
  6. To remove the sponge put one or two fingers in the vagina and grasp the sponge and remove.
  7. Pull it out and dispose of thoughtfully into the bin.
  8. If you have trouble removing the sponge, push as if you are having a bowel movement. This may move the sponge closer to the opening of the vagina.  If you still cannot remove the sponge then visit your local doctor or Women’s Health Nurse who can remove it for you.

NEVER reinsert sponges soaked in Dettol, bleach or any similar solutions.  This could harm the lining of the vagina and lead to increased risk of infection to you. 

Removal of the sponge

The Lost Sponge

  1. Don’t panic!
  2. The sponge cannot travel to any other part of your body -It is most likely caught between your cervix and vaginal wall.
  3. Try squatting on the floor (this opens up your pelvis more). Feel for the sponge with your finger.
  4. Having a warm bath may fill the sponge with water and make it heavier. This may help it to move down in the vagina and be easier to reach.
  5. If you still cannot remove the sponge you can resort to inserting your hands (with gloves). Alternatively, seek peer support or see a health professional who can easily remove it in the clinic.
  6. DO NOT attempt to use any foreign instruments to remove the sponge.

Remember

  • Sponges do not provide any protection from sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
  • Sponges do not prevent pregnancy (in the case of a broken condom).
  • The sponge should always be very clean and not used for more than one shift.
  • Sponges can disintegrate so be sure they are in good condition before using.
  • You may have some difficulty inserting and removing it.
  • Some women are uncomfortable inserting a sponge into their vagina. It may take some practice for women to feel comfortable.
  • It is your choice whether to work or not work when menstruating.

 

This is only a brief overview of using sponges and should not substitute for professional medical advice.

 

For further information please contact:

  • RhED (Resourcing health and education in the sex industry)
    1800 458 752
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (03) 9341 6200
  • Your local Doctor or Family Planning Clinic