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What if the Condom Breaks?

What's the best thing to do if the condom breaks during sex?
Meagan*

Many times, a couple won't notice that a condom broke until after sex. But if you know that the condom has broken during sex, stop right away, and use a new condom.

If the condom does break:

  • If you're concerned about pregnancy, call your doctor, nurse practitioner, or health clinic right away to ask about emergency contraception. Or, for those over 17, you can buy ECPs over the counter at a pharmacy.

    To find out who can provide or prescribe ECPs in your area, visit the The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals website. [Please note: By clicking on this link, you will be leaving our site.] Emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible after intercourse.

  • It's a good idea for you and your partner to be tested for STDs. People are often unaware that they have an STD, but if an infection isn't treated, it could cause serious problems.

To prevent condoms from breaking, keep them away from heat and light, don't carry them in a wallet, don't open them with anything sharp (like scissors or teeth), and avoid using oils or lotions on them. The material used to make condoms can weaken over time, so check the expiration date and don't use one that has expired.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011

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* Names have been changed to protect user privacy.