English methods of birth control
1915 1915 1910s 18 pages 16 called the French letter. This consists of a thin tube of indiarubber or thin skin, which the husband wears, and which prevents his fluid from passing into his wife. There are several qualities of these sheaths, varying in cost. If carefully washed and dried after being...
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16 called the French letter. This consists of a thin tube of indiarubber or thin skin, which the husband wears, and which prevents his fluid from passing into his wife. There are several qualities of these sheaths, varying in cost. If carefully washed and dried after being used, they will serve four or five times. Great care must be taken when using them to leave space at the end for the fluid to pass into, otherwise the sheath may burst and failure take place. Before using the sheath it is also advisable to blow into it and see that the air does not escape through any small hole. If there is any reason to fear after use that any fluid has escaped into the wife's passage, she should carefully syringe herself as next described. B.— METHODS TO BE USED BY THE WIFE. 1. Irrigation or Syringing.— This consists in washing out the passage immediately after connection, so as to sterilise and carry away the male fluid. Cold water is often effective by itself, but it is better to use a pint of warm water to which has been added, and well mixed, one of the following : (a) Six tablespoonsful (about half a cupful) of vinegar ; or (b) A teaspoonful of citric acid crystals ; or (c) As much permanganate of potash crystals as would lie on a threepenny bit ; or (d) One tablespoonful of hydrogen peroxide. All of these are quite harmless and cheap (vinegar about 5 cents a pint, citric acid about 4 cents an oz., hydrogen peroxide about 25 cents a 4-oz. bottle). The permanganate solution is a good disinfectant, and useful in other ways ; unfortunately, it stains linen brown if spilt. Care should be taken that all crystals are dissolved before the liquid is used. The irrigation or washing out must be done immediately after intercourse, and either an irrigating can and tube or an enema syringe with vaginal tube may be used. These are obtainable from any good chemist, although there are more expensive forms which are, perhaps, better. When an irrigating can is used, it should be hung on the wall about five feet from the floor, and should have a long rubber tube to carry the liquid to the bedside. Care should be taken to wash out the whole of the passage most thoroughly. If the nozzle of the tube is provided with a second tube to carry away the liquid (or if a bedpan is used) there is no need for the wife to leave her bed. 2. The Soluble Pessary.— In order to avoid the necessity for immediately washing out, as just described, soluble pessaries may be used. These consist of small pieces of either cocoa butter or gelatine in which the necessary chemicals for preventing conception are mixed. They can be bought at many chemists for about 25 cents a dozen. Care should be taken to get those of a reliable make in order to ensure effectiveness and avoid risk of irritation. It is, perhaps, best also not to use them too frequently, as it is possible that they may irritate the womb or passage if constantly used. One of these pessaries should be slipped into the wife's passage