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My Condoms Expire???

My Condoms Expire???


There are all types of condoms, manufactured with different materials and by different manufacturers around the world. And EVERY one of them expires.  Condoms are a medical device and, as such, have a shelf life for both effectiveness and quality.  Why? Well mostly because of the materials they are made from.  Whether it is latex, polyisoprene, polyurethane, or  nitrile, they all have a lifespan for peak effectiveness.  After that lifespan is met, they begin to degrade. No different than medications lose their potency after their expiry date and food can go bad, condoms and dams are no longer at their peak performance once past their expiry date.  


How Long Does my Condom Last?


Condoms usually have up to a 5-year expiry date from manufacturing depending upon what material they are made from.  Dams usually have a 3-year expiry date from manufacturing.  The expiry date is printed on the outer box or carton, as well on the individual condom foil or dam packaging. It is often printed as year-month-date on the packaging.  So 2023-01-31 means it is good until January 31 2023.   The Lot number is the number that a supplier or manufacturer can use to trace the product if there are any recalls or issues.
   


What Happens to an Expired Condom?


All condoms wear down over time. No different than any other material we use for our everyday products, they all have a shelf life for peak performance.  Condoms become brittle and can break much easier when they are expired.  This then increases your risk for STIs or pregnancy.  This process happens quicker for natural condoms such as lambskin or sheepskin so make sure you are checking your expiry dates for all types of condoms.


Storing Condoms


Being proactive and prepared by always having a condom on hand is wise, but HOW you carry it about is important.  Condoms are best stored at room temperature.  Heat is a condom’s worst enemy.  Storing your condoms in your glove compartment is not wise! Nor is having them loose in your purse or bag, where friction and sharp objects can damage them.  Keep them at home in a drawer or cupboard. And not in a bathroom where the heat and humidity can also break down the materials.  If taking one out for the night, make sure it is in a condom compact or place where it won’t get damaged.  Condom foils go through a manufacturing process to help keep the condoms protected from damage and ultra-violet rays.  But it is up to you to keep them safe from extreme heat and sharp objects.  


Take Care of Your Condoms


If you take care of your condoms, they will help take care of you. 


Don’t use your condoms if:
• There is visible damage to the wrapper
• You can see lubricant leaking from the package
• It is dry or brittle upon opening
• It is past its expiry date
• It smells bad


Don’t open your condoms with:
• Your teeth
• Scissors
• Sharp objects including fingernails


Always tear your condom open along the perforation that is on the foil as per the manufacturing process. 


Make Sure To Use Your Condoms


Condoms are available at local Public Health facilities, many University and College Health Centres and Student Unions, Pharmacies, Adult Stores, online platforms and even grocery stores.  No matter where you get yours, make sure you wear yours and that you are checking your expiry dates.  Regardless of the different styles, brands, and materials, condoms are a part of safer sex practices. 
So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information and approved products. 

Your sexual health is relying on it!

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Condom Myths

There are many types of condoms available to meet everyone’s needs.   And, unfortunately, there are also as many myths and misconceptions associated with condoms as well!  Sadly, with the stigma that still surrounds sexual health, many false beliefs are circulated as “fact” when they are truly fiction. False information on the internet, talking with others who may not have the facts, fear of asking a question, and shame still surrounding sexual activities, all lead to misinformation. And even worse, this misinformation can lead to unwanted pregnancies or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)


Condom Myth #1


“Using two condoms is better than one.”


Double is NOT always a better deal. This is a big NO.  One condom is all that is necessary for safer sex.  If you double up condoms you are actually at more of a risk for breakage due to the condoms rubbing together. You only need to use one condom at a time for them to do what they are supposed to.


Condom Myth #2


“I don’t need to wear a condom if I practice the withdrawal method.”


The withdrawal method, or pulling out, is when the penis is pulled out before ejaculation.  Many men have sperm in their pre-ejaculate, the fluid that is released before ejaculation.  Condoms should be worn when genital contact is occurring.  Wearing a condom will help in reducing the possibility of transmission of STIs and unwanted pregnancies.

 

Condom Myth #3

 

“Condoms are a turn off.”


Condoms are available in all different styles, sizes, colors, and flavors.  They are ribbed, tattooed, and even glow in the dark.  They come in snugger fit to extra large.  They can easily be incorporated into foreplay so that they are not viewed as something that interrupts sexual pleasure, but rather something that enhances it.   


Condom Myth #4


“Condoms are hard to put on.”


Nope.  They are quite simple to put on actually.  And it is easy to practice beforehand as well.  

 

  • Tear open the package carefully and do not use fingernails, teeth, or anything that can damage the condom.

 

  • Remove the condom from the package and apply a small amount of lubricant to the inside tip. 

 

  • Before any sexual contact, place the condom on the head of the erect penis with the rolled side out. Pinch the receptacle tip of the condom between your thumb and forefinger. This prevents air from becoming trapped at the tip of the condom and leaves an empty space to collect semen. 

 

  • Unroll the condom down the base of the penis with your other hand. If the condom doesn’t unroll easily, it may be on backwards, damaged or too old. Throw it away and start over with a new condom. You can apply lubricant at this time as well.

 

  • Immediately after ejaculation, hold on to the base of the condom tightly and pull out while the penis is still erect. This will keep the condom from slipping off and keep any fluids from being spilled. 

 

  • Dispose properly by wrapping the used condom in tissue and throwing it in the trash so others won’t handle it. DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET

Condom Myth #5


“You can re-use a condom.”


No, you cannot re-use a condom.  Use a new condom for every new act of intercourse. Never reuse condoms as this can result in condom breakage, risk of pregnancy and STIs.  Do not use the same condom if switching from vaginal sex to anal sex.  


Condom Myth #6


“Any type of lube is fine with condoms.”


Never use petroleum-based lubricants with latex condoms as they will damage the integrity of the latex and can break the condoms.  Use water-based or silicone-based lubricants when using condoms.  Either are fine and truly are simply a matter of preference. 

 

So go and explore your condom preferences. Contact reliable sources to ensure you are getting the correct information.  Your sexual health is relying on it!

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What is Chlamydia?


“Chlamydia (kluh-MID-e-uh) trachomatis (truh-KOH-muh-tis) is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. You might not know you have chlamydia because many people don't have signs or symptoms, such as genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis.”


How do you get it?


Chlamydia is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex when one of the partners has the infection. If an individual has previously been treated for the bacterial infection, they are still at risk of contracting it again. 


Symptoms


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.


Women with symptoms may notice

 

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating.

Symptoms in men can include

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).

Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause

 

  • Rectal pain;
  • Discharge;
  • Bleeding.

 

You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STI or symptoms of an STI. STI symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.


What are some complications that can arise?


Mayo Clinic has created a list of complications that Chlamydia can be associated with: 

 

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that causes pelvic pain and fever. Severe infections might require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, including the cervix.

 

  • Infection near the testicles (epididymitis). A chlamydia infection can inflame the coiled tube located beside each testicle (epididymis). The infection can result in fever, scrotal pain and swelling.

 

  • Prostate gland infection. Rarely, the chlamydia organism can spread to a man's prostate gland. Prostatitis can cause pain during or after sex, fever and chills, painful urination, and lower back pain.

 

  • Infections in newborns. The chlamydia infection can pass from the vaginal canal to your child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye infection.

 

  • Ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The pregnancy needs to be removed to prevent life-threatening complications, such as a burst tube. A chlamydia infection increases this risk.

 

  • Infertility. Chlamydia infections — even those that produce no signs or symptoms — can cause scarring and obstruction in the fallopian tubes, which might make women infertile.

 

  • Reactive arthritis. People who have Chlamydia trachomatis are at higher risk of developing reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter's syndrome. This condition typically affects the joints, eyes and urethra — the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside of your body.

Prevention Methods


As the most common sexually transmitted infection, and one of the most difficult infections to diagnose early on, it’s incredibly important that safety precautions are set in place when you are sexually active. Some good measures to take to stay safer include;

 

  • Condoms. When used correctly, male or female condoms decrease your risk of contracting Chlamydia.

 

  • Screenings. When you are sexually active, it’s very important to have regular discussions with your doctor in regard to your sexual health. If you have multiple partners, you should talk to your doctor to schedule regular screenings for chlamydia as well as other STI’s.

 

  • Treatment. If you have concluded that you have contracted Chlamydia, the good news is that it can be easily cured with antibiotics. According to the CDC, once you have received your antibiotics:

 

“Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners. It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure chlamydia. Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. If a person’s symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, he or she should return to a health care provider to be re-evaluated.”

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How to Use a Male Condom

Although not difficult, using a condom can be a tricky thing if you have not used one before, and it is very important that you use them correctly. If a condom is not put on in a correct manner it can increase the potential risk of contracting or transmitting an STI, reduce the effectiveness of its birth control properties, and can cause varying health complications. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started. Practice putting one on so that when you are in a situation you are already comfortable with the process.

 

  • Before opening your condom, be sure to read any special information that is provided on the packaging of your condoms. Be aware of the type of condom that you are using and the material it is made of.  If you have known allergies (especially to latex), it is important that you know what your condoms are made from to reduce the risk of any reactions to the condom and/or lubricant that is used. It is also very important to be aware of the expiry date on the packaging of your condom. Never use a condom that is expired.  Make sure you store your condoms at room temperature and never in your wallet or glove compartment. 

 

  • Once you have read the packaging, remove the condom from the box. You will notice that each condom is individually wrapped, as they are a single use device.  Again, it is important to read the packaging on the individual condoms noting anything specific prior to opening it. Once you have read the packaging, most condoms have a spot that makes opening easier or instructions on where to open the package. You want to make sure that you open it from its packaging carefully.  Do not use your teeth, fingernails, or any sharp objects (such as scissors or a knife) to open the package – you do not want to damage the condom inside.

 

  • When you remove most condoms from their packaging, you will notice there may be a liquid like texture. This is called lubricant and is used to keep the condom moist during sexual intercourse to help prevent possible irritation. Lubricant also helps reduce the risk of your condom breaking. If you have a condom that is not pre-lubricated, you can purchase some separately and apply it yourself when you are ready to use it.  Never use oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly, mineral oil, baby oil, or vegetable oil. They can damage the materials of the condom and affect how it works. 

 

  • Place the condom on the erect penis. If the penis is not erect, the condom will not fit properly or stay on. You will notice there is an opening on one end with a ring around it – this ring is to help keep the condom in place.  The other end of the condom has a pointed tip (reservoir) to collect any bodily fluid that is ejaculated from the penis. When placing the condom on the penis, make sure the ring is on the outside, and place it on the tip of the penis leaving a little room in the reservoir to collect the semen.

 

  • Once the condom is on the penis, gently squeeze the tip on the outside to remove as much air as possible inside the condom. Hold the tip of the condom and gently roll the ring all the way up the shaft of the penis. If you experience any difficulties rolling the condom, throw it away and try a new one. Difficulties rolling a condom may indicate it is damaged, it may be too old, or it was stored incorrectly.  Never use a brittle condom.

 

  • Once the condom is on correctly it should not move around or feel too tight and uncomfortable. It is extremely important to ensure you have the correctly sized condom for your penis.  If it is not the correct size it could cause the condom to break or fall off during intercourse, increasing the risk of pregnancy or transmission of an STI.

 

  • Once you have ejaculated, it is important to immediately remove the condom while the penis is still somewhat erect. Carefully and securely keep the condom in place while removing it from the penis. Be sure to always hold the condom by the ring end to ensure the collected semen does not fall out. Once you have removed the condom, properly dispose of it by twisting the ring end and wrapping it in a piece of tissue or paper and putting it in the garbage.  Do not flush the condom down the toilet.

Putting on a condom is not difficult; however, it may take a few tries to put one on properly and comfortably.  

 

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