Condoms have long expiry dates but it is best to use them much before that. Latex condoms are usable up to 6 years if stored in a cool and dry place. Condoms become prone to fail when their structural integrity is compromised. Keeping it in your wallet or any place that exposes it to heat and moisture and of course when its expiry date is over disturbs the structural integrity. Risk of using expired condoms is more than just unwanted pregnancy and it can also lead to STDs or simply irritation.
Risk of damage to expired condoms
After the expiration date of latex condom is over, its latex starts to dry out making it brittle. With more drying, the flexibility and strength of the condoms keeps getting worse. The older the condom, the more likely it is to break. Even the spermicides used in some condoms become less effective after the expiry date. This is because the substance that kills sperms loses its lubrication and loses its effectiveness.
Risks of expired condom use
- Unwanted Pregnancy – This is the most obvious risk factor associated with the use of an expired condom. Men may not even ejaculate and yet open their partner to the risk of pregnancy. The pre ejaculates are good enough to cause pregnancy as they can enter before ejaculation. There is a risk of break or tear in the weak material of condom. Small holes or rips can form without you even noticing. They provide the passage to sperms to enter vagina for conception.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) – Risk of using expired condoms is as much for transmission of STDs as for being a cause of unwanted pregnancy. Since the condom is no longer able to prevent the mixing of bodily fluids, the viruses and infecting particles can reach from one person to another. One of the dangers of expired condom, which has lost its durability and flexibility, is that it can break inside the vagina during intercourse and lead to transfer of STD from one person to another.
- Irritation – It is considered safer to use a condom, even though expired, than not using one at all. So, if you find yourself in a situation when there is only one piece left at home and there is no chance of getting it quickly enough, you may have to use it. The dried and brittle condom can irritate the skin of the member or vagina and may even cause minor rash.
Make sure you avoid the risk of using expired condoms by checking the pack and replacing one if it is close to expiry.
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