Is it possible for a condom to fall off and get stuck up in the vagina? And if a condom comes off, what should I do?
It certainly is. Male condoms can slip part way down the shaft of the penis or fall off into the vagina completely. In either instance, semen may escape from the condom potentially exposing a woman to the risk of pregnancy and infection.
One of the 3 most important instructions for safe, effective condom use is: "During withdrawal of the penis after ejaculation (while the penis is still erect), hold the rim of the condom against the base of the penis." [Warner, Hatcher, Steiner ? 2004]
Condoms completely fall off the penis in about 2% of acts of vaginal intercourse according to results from prospective studies. Data on rates of complete slippage during anal intercourse, although very limited, appear to range more widely. Condoms may also slip down partially during intercourse without falling off, which could pose risk for STLs that are transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact (e.g., herpes simplex virus-2, HPV, syphilis, and chancroid). Unfortunately, since very few studies distinguish partial from complete slippage, the degree to which slippage increases the risk of pregnancy or STLs due to semen leakage or exposure to genital lesions is unknown." [Warner, Hatcher, Steiner ? 2004]
"If the condom breaks, falls off, leaks, or is not used, the following may help:
a. Discuss the possibility of pregnancy or infection with your partner and contact your health care provider as soon as you can. Do not douche. Emergency contraception may be used to prevent pregnancy if started within 72 hours of having unprotected intercourse. Call 1-888-NOT-2-LATE to learn more about emergency contraceptives and to obtain phone numbers of providers of emergency contraception nearest to you, or obtain this information from the World Wide Web at hppt://ec.princeton.edu.
b. Gently wash the penis, vulva, anus, and adjacent areas with soap and water immediately after intercourse to help reduce the risk of acquiring an STI. Then insert an applicator full of spermicide into the vagina as soon as possible." [Warner, Hatcher, Steiner ? 2004]
The following questions provide more on this subject:
a. What can a woman do to increase condom use and decrease condom breakage and slippage? Click here
b. I have 3 questions about condoms, spermicide and Plan B.
c. Is using two condoms more effective than using just one?
d. How secure is the NuvaRing, once it is in place? Click here
Summary: Condoms fall off completely in about 2% of acts of intercourse. Usually it is easy to remove the condom from the vagina, easily (if it is recognized that the condom came off). Consider Plan B emergency contraception when a condom breaks, slips down or comes off. Use EC as soon as possible. Definitely within 5 days.
A couple who have experienced a condom break or slippage, definitely should have a package of Plan B ready at home so both Plan B tablets can be taken immediately in case of a problem.
Key Words: condom, vagina, fall off, breakage
This question has been answered for the website:
www.managingcontraception.com Send your colleagues, students and patients there. Complicated and interesting questions are answered regularly.
The chapter in Contraceptive Technology by Lee Warner and Markus Steiner is excellent!
Originally posted 1-26-2005 - up-dated and re-posted 2-16-2005