Shelf life of a condom
When buying a condom, pay attention to its size, material and, what is more important, its expiration date. No one can say exactly what can happen after using an exgpired condom, so it is better to stay on the safe side. Consequences of using an expired condom will depend on your luck and individual characteristics of your body.
An average shelf life of a condom is 2-5 years but cheaper condoms can expire in six months.
How to avoid buying an expired condom:
- Buy condoms only in drug stores (they observe the storage rules);
- Study the package where the expiration date must be used (if there is no such information, do not risk);
- Be aware that condoms can be sold in drug store for over a year;
- Choose more expensive and qualitative brands such as Contex or Lifestyles.
If you follow these simple rules, you will reduce the risk of buying an expired condom. However, if you are not whether a condom expired or not, do not use it.
The signs of an expired condom:
- the package is ripped;
- unpleasant smell of the condom;
- loss of elasticity of a condom;
- dried out lubrication.
It is up to you whether to use expired condoms or not, however if there are no evident signs that a condom is expired, we advise you against using it as consequences can be very unpleasant.
Apart from the expiration date, storage rules of condoms can be violated. Remember that:
- you can not keep condoms under direct sun;
- you should keep condoms in dry and dark place;
- you should keep condoms at room temperature.
If you ignore these rules, a shelf life of condoms is significantly reduced.
What are the dangers of expired condoms?
Using an expired condom, there is a risk that a condom breaks or slips off.
What can happen if you use an expired condom during an intercourse:
- a greater risk of HIV infection (due to increased permeability of latex even without visible damages);
- hepatitis infection (type B and C);
- an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhea, syphilis, clamydiae, trichomonads, mycoplasma, gardnerella, genital herpes, pointed condyloma, ureaplasma etc.);
- sperm can penetrate through latex which leads to spontaneous pregnancy (if a condom breaks, an intercourse is equal to unsafe sex and emergency contraception is needed);
- allergy which is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms (swelling and redness, itching and burning, sometimes pain and discomfort during urination, rash);
- risk of vaginal dysbacteriosis (a disturbed balance of useful and conditionally pathogenic vaginal microflora).
If you still doubt whether to use expired condoms or not, be aware of inflammations and irritations which occur more often because the condoms do not have enough of the lubricant and they are not elastic enough.
What to do if you had sex with an expired condom?
If you noticed that the condom is expired after sex, make sure you took preventive measures against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
- thoroughly wash the genitals (women can do the douching);
- take emergency contraceptive pills (within 72 hours after sex).
Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases:
- hygienic measures shortly after sex for women (douching);
- a man should urinate and wash his penis;
- both a man and a woman should visit a venereologist and undergo a medical examination to exclude the infection.
Be attentive choosing condoms, follow the storage rules, rules for putting a condom on and off, check the expiration date and you will not need all these preventive measures. Condoms of good quality are more expensive but they are more reliable and safe.