What You Should Do After Unprotected Sex
This Is What You Should Do After Unprotected Sex or Condom Failure.If you’ve had sex without a condom or a sexual experience where the condom broke, try not to panic.Things happen, and you’re far from the only person to go through either of these experiences.
What you do need to remember, though, is that there are a few risks associated with these sexual events.But there are plenty of steps you can take to address those risks so that you remain protected and sexually healthy.
Here are things to consider after having unprotected sex, including your options in terms of emergency contraception.
Had unprotected sex?
Within 72 hours. Take the emergency contraceptive pill. The ECP (emergency contraceptive pill) can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, but new research shows it’s effective up to four days after sex. …
Or, within 5 days. Get an IUD. …
2 weeks later. Get an STI check.
Immediately after unprotected sex
If you notice that the condom broke, stop any sexual activity and move away from your partner.If you’ve had sex without a condom, remember that there are a few things you can do immediately to help.
Use the bathroom
First, head to the bathroom to remove lingering fluids from the va gina, pe nis, or a nus.This can make you feel more comfortable and help remove bacteria that could result in urinary tract infections (UTIs).
You can sit on the toilet and push down with your ge nital or an al muscles to push out any remaining fluid. Peeing can also help.
Just know that if you have a vulva and have had pen is-in-va gina sex, peeing won’t remove the risk of pregnancy. That’s because sp erm has already traveled toward the egg.
Don’t douche, but do wash up
It’s a myth that ge nital areas need a thorough cleanse after se xual activity.While washing and drying gen ital areas can further increase your comfort, va ginal or an al douching can actually put you at increased risk of an infection
This is because douching products can cause irritation and inflammation.So if you want to wash, simply have a shower or use lukewarm water to splash the area.
Check in with yourself’
Make sure you take time to ask yourself how you’re feeling.It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions after sex without a condom, whether that’s worry, anger, or sadness.
Try to speak to friends or family about the situation so that they can support you.
If you aren’t comfortable speaking to anyone you know, consider reaching out to Planned Parenthood or the National Coalition for Sexual Health for help.
Plan out your next steps
Once you’re feeling more comfortable, it’s a good idea to think about what to do next.
If you need emergency contraception (EC), have a look at where your nearest pharmacy is and its opening times. Some forms of EC are available are over-the-counter and don’t require a doctor’s prescription.
If you’re concerned that you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV, book an appointment with a doctor or sexual health clinic.
Remember that you only need to have oral or penetrative sex with someone once to contract an STI.
Watch for symptoms
While some STIs can be symptomless, others may show up in the form of sores, itchiness, smelly discharge, or pain when urinating.
Keep an eye on your gen itals, an us, and mouth area, and schedule an STI test if you notice anything unusual.
Within 3 days
Some forms of EC need to be taken within 72 hours of se x without a condom.
Similarly, it’s vital to take preventive medication for HIV within the same timeframe.
Get PEP from a healthcare professional
If you’re concerned that you could have contracted HIV, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) can reduce your risk of developing an infection.
Starting the treatment as soon as possible, ideally within a few hours of potential exposure, is vital to its success.
You must begin taking the medication within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure, as it’s highly unlikely to work after this period.
You’ll need to take it once or twice a day for at least 28 days and may not be effective for everyone.
When it does work, the combination of drugs —known as antiretroviral medications —stop HIV from replicating and spreading throughout the body.
Get Plan B or another levonorgestrel EC pill from your local pharmacy
EC pills work to prevent pregnancy by blocking biological processes like ovulation.
EC pills containing a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel need to be taken within 72 hours of sex for maximum effectiveness.
This includes Plan B.
Luckily, these types of pills are available over the counter at pharmacies. They typically cost up to $50.
If taken within 24 hours of sex, your risk of pregnancy will be reduced by 95 percent.
The risk is cut by 88 percent if a levonorgestrel EC pill is taken between 24 hours and 72 hours after intercourse.
Talk with a healthcare professional about ella or ParaGard
Other types of EC exist to help prevent pregnancy.
These include ella, a pill that can be taken up to 5 days after sex, and ParaGard, an intrauterine device (IUD) that can be used as a long-term birth control method.
To access any of these options, you’ll need to visit a doctor.
What to know about Plan B
Plan B was the first hormonal product approved in the U.S. specifically for emergency contraception. It can prevent ovulation and fertilization if taken within three days (the sooner the better) of having unprotected sex.
Anyone can buy Plan B and its generic counterpart over the counter, meaning you don’t need a prescription (although you may have to ask the pharmacist). Plan B costs between $10 and $70, according to Planned Parenthood.
Christopher Estes, MD, an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, recommends keeping it on hand in case of emergency.
Side effects can include nausea, tiredness, headache, and breast tenderness.