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How Effective Are Condoms

There are several types of contraceptives that couples can use to prevent pregnancy. Of all of these methods, condoms are used to provide prevent unwanted pregnancy while offering protection against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms work by physically blocking body fluids from coming into contact during sex. This way, it ensures that ejaculated semen does not get to fertilize the egg, thus preventing pregnancy. But, just how effective are condoms at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI's)?

Well, it is important to note that condom effectiveness, as with any other contraception, depends on its effective use. Thus, the effectiveness of condoms decreases when they are not used properly. According to medical studies, condoms are 98% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies: i.e. only two percent of couples who use condoms correctly and consistently within a year experience an unwanted pregnancy.

How to Ensure Condom Effectiveness

First, start by choosing a reputable brand. You can always get one of the popular brands (Trojan, Durex, Lifestyles) from the local pharmacy.  You can also buy condoms online and choose from a wider selection of brands (Crown, Kimono, Beyond Seven, One Condoms) and types (Lambskin, Latex Free, Female Condoms). However, you have to be sure that you are buying the right condom size. If it is too small size, then it can rapture during intercourse thus leading to unwanted pregnancy as well as the risk of STI transmission. On the other hand, when the condom is too large, then it may slip off during sex.

Effective Condom Usage Tips

Improper and inconsistent condom use may reduce condoms' effectiveness in protecting against STI's and unwanted pregnancies.  Please make note of the following effective condom usage tips:

  • Always store condoms in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. 
  • Always check the expiry date of the condom before use. If it is expired, then do not use it.  
  • Never use your teeth or sharp objects to cut open the condom's pack; instead, tear it gently using your hands. 
  • Do not use damaged, discolored, dry/sticky condoms
  • When putting on your condom, start by pinching the tip of the condom before rolling it over your erect penis up to the base.  The leaves room for ejaculated fluid.
  • When withdrawing after sex, carefully hold the condoms at the base, making sure that the semen does not escape. 

What Happens if the Condom Breaks?

If the condom breaks during sex, consult a doctor regarding the risk of STI's.  Also, there is the option of emergency contraceptives within 72 hours of sex.

Condoms are highly effective for preventing unwanted pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections. Of course, no contraception is 100 percent effective. This also is true of other types of contraceptives like the pill.  Studies indicate that quality condoms, when used correctly and consistently, provide an excellent protection against pregnancy and STIs.

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