Condoms serve more than one purpose. It protects both sexual partners from sexually transmitted diseases as well as unwanted pregnancies. Condoms are 98% effective in preventing pregnancies. Condoms are not considered 100% effective as they do break or split during intercourse. This can leave sexual partners at risk of pregnancies and contracting STIs.
A broken condom can turn a fun situation into a very scary situation. No one plans for a broken condom and at that moment it can invoke a lot of fear. If the situation is handled quickly and properly, there is a very small chance than any harm will be done.
Most times, people don’t notice a broken condom until after having sex. However, if you do realize the condom has split or broken while having sex, it is imperative to stop straight away and to replace the condom. Even if your partner has not ejaculated at this point, it is important to keep in mind that you might have been exposed to some sperm. However, at this point the risk is low, but even so, you might want to consider emergency contraception.
If your partner has already ejaculated, you will be at an increased risk of pregnancy, so you should take emergency contraception as soon as possible.
Here are some steps you can take
If you are worried about pregnancy, you can go to your local pharmacy and buy the morning-after pill. Is it not available over the counter and you can find it next to the condoms and lube in most pharmacy aisles. The morning-after pill is the most effective when taking during the first 24 hours prior to unprotected sex. However, the morning after pill can be taken 3 days after unprotected sex and the emergency coil and be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The emergency coil will need to be fitted by a medical professional. In order to get one fitted, you will need to visit a sexual health clinic or your doctor.
There are multiple forms of emergency contraception: 2 morning-after pills and one type of intrauterine device.
- Levonorgestrel (Plan B step-one): Works by preventing ovulation off the egg or the fertilization of an egg. This is a single dose that should be taken 72 hours after partaking in unprotected sex.
- Ulipristal Acetate (Ella): This is a single dose contraceptive, but this requires a doctor’s prescription. Its mechanism of action involves the delaying or prevention of ovulation by changing the lining of the uterus. This can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
- Intrauterine Device: This device is T shaped in nature and is wrapped in copper and inserted up the vagina. Here, copper is released in small amounts making the uterus lining an inhospitable environment for a pregnancy. If placed before 5 days, it has been proved to be 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy.
If the condom has broken, there is a chance to get an STI from contact with your partner or give an STI to your partner. If you or your partner has not been tested recently and are unaware if you/they currently have any STIs, it is advised to get tested. Even if you or your partner do not have any symptoms of STIs, this does not mean you are not infected and could potentially pass it on to each other.
It is vital to visit your local doctor or sexual health clinic to get tested for any STIs and get the appropriate treatment you need, avoiding any serious complications that may come about from untreated STIs. Another option available is home STI kits which you can order online.
Most STIs present asymptomatically, which means no symptoms appear and you go on to have an infection without realizing. This is why having an STI check is important. Some of the symptoms STIs can present with are:
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Burning sensation during urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
If you experience any of these symptoms, is it important to visit a doctor as soon as possible.
How to prevent your condom from breaking
- Used an expired condom
- Use a condom that has been stored in either a hot or cold temperature
- Wear 2 condoms at one time - creates friction, causing them to break
- Use oil-based lubricant - can inflame vaginal and rectal tissues. Switch to water or silicone-based lubricants
- Use condoms that are the right size - if they are too small for you the condom has a higher chance of breaking
- Reuse a condom
- "What Should I Do If a Condom Breaks?". 2020, <https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-should-i-do-if-a-condom-breaks-49443> [accessed 29 March 2020].
- "What to Do If The Condom Breaks". 2020, <https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/condom-broke#how-to-prevent-future-breakage> [accessed 29 March 2020].