Condoms have long been one of the most efficient ways to prevent STIs and pregnancy. They aren't infallible, though, as they can sometimes fail. One of the most common forms of failure is the condom breaking. This could be due to sizing issues, lack of lubrication, or a host of other reasons.
Regardless of the cause, it's a stressful situation. Many individuals are unsure of how to react, or what course of action to take. This guide will provide you with tips on what to do if the condom breaks while you are having sex.
Stay Calm, Assess The Situation
The most important thing to do is to keep your wits about you. If you are having sex and suspect that something is amiss desist at once. Check to see if the condom has indeed broken. Often, couples will not notice that the condom has failed until after intercourse. Either way, there are several concerns you will want to address. These depend on what kind of sex you were having.
In cases of vaginal intercourse, there is a risk of pregnancy. Emergency contraception can reduce this risk in situations where a condom breaks during sex. The most widely used methods are Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs), and Copper-T Intrauterine Devices.
ECPs contain hormones that reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. Though often referred to as the "morning after pill," you don't have to take them at that time. You can take ECPs up to five days following intercourse. They are, however, more effective the sooner you take them. They are also abundant, with some pills available over-the-counter for unrestricted sale.
The Copper-T IUD is a regular birth control method that is also effective as emergency contraception. IUDs physically prevent the implantation of fertilized ova, preventing pregnancy. They are more efficient as an emergency measure than ECPs, but a trained physician must insert the device. After insertion, Copper-T IUDs are effective for 12 years or more.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
All forms of sexual intercourse carry the risk of STIs. If the condom breaks during sex, this risk increases. If you don't know your partner's STI status, you should get tested for common infections. This includes Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. You can obtain testing and treatment confidentially in many areas.
Your physician may ask you questions about your sexual practices and possible symptoms. This is to determine if they should conduct more specific tests for other STIs. In some cases, STIs will not cause symptoms. Some infections are only spread through specific forms of contact. It is important for you to be forthcoming with whatever questions a healthcare provider may have so that they can be accurate with their assessments.
In situations where there is a risk of HIV, a doctor may recommend Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is an anti-retroviral medication treatment used to stop HIV from establishing itself in the human body. The medications used are the same used to treat infection in HIV-positive individuals. To be effective, you must start the treatment within 72 hours of suspected exposure. You must then continue the treatment for 28 days.
Understand What Went Wrong
You'll want to limit the possibility of a condom breaking again in the future. To do this, you must understand why condoms usually fail, and what you can do to mitigate the risk.
- Improper Use - In many situations, condoms break because users put them on wrong. Review the proper way to put on a condom, and make sure you follow the correct steps every time you have intercourse. Pinch the tip, then roll it down. There should be no air bubbles in the tip. Avoid handling a condom with sharp nails or jewelry as they can tear the condom.
- Poor Fit - A condom might break because it is the wrong size. There are small, medium, and large sizes to fit most men. Make sure you are using the right ones.
- No Lube - Excess friction can cause a condom to break. Using lube during sex can reduce friction and make this less likely. There are many varieties of lube, and some work better with specific kinds of condoms. Water and silicone based lubes are less damaging to latex condoms than oil based lubes. Be sure to check to make sure you are using the right lube for the condoms you are wearing.
Make sure you are storing your condoms properly. You should keep them in a cool, dry location. Keep them out of direct sunlight. Be sure the check the expiration date on your condoms as well. Expired condoms are much more likely to break than fresh ones.
It's never a pleasant feeling when a condom breaks. Knowing what to do and keeping your cool, however, will allow you to address the situation appropriately. Minimize the risk of pregnancy, get tested for STIs, and undergo any preventative treatments recommended by your healthcare provider.