True Stories

TRUE STORY: “A condom got lost in my vagina and I developed an infection”

Stacey* had no idea that her boyfriend’s condom had slipped off inside of her during sex
 

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“My partner, Gary* and I use two methods of birth control. I take the pill, and, most of the time, he’ll use a condom when we have sex. One night, we were making love when Gary’s condom slipped out inside of me. The funniest thing about it is that neither of us felt it. I remember us both being really tired that night. Yet, we managed to have sex before passing out on the bed. The next morning, we woke up and went about our daily routines.

Two days later, I started to feel a little ‘off’. I experienced abdominal pains and just didn’t feel like my usual self. I put it down to indigestion because I’d been having a pretty stressful week and wasn’t eating the right foods. But then the pain worsened and I knew it wasn’t your average case of indigestion.

 

The symptoms get worse

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When the pain did not subside a few days later, and I noticed a foul-smelling discharge and light bleeding from my vagina, I knew something was dreadfully wrong. I thought my period had come early but that didn’t seem possible. Then I thought I had a urinary tract infection because there was also a bit of discomfort when I peed. Worried, I booked an appointment with my doctor. She asked me all kinds of questions about my personal hygiene, menstrual cycle and sex life. And then she told me that she wanted to physically examine me.        

I winced as the doctor inserted her fingers into my vagina. After some poking around, she told me that she could feel something in my vagina. She asked me if I’d forgotten to take my tampon out but I told her that I didn’t wear tampons. Next thing I knew, she went in with a pair of forceps. It was quite painful and I tried my hardest not to scream. And then, finally, she pulled something out – it was Gary’s condom from the other night!

ALSO READ: SOME MEN ARE TOO ‘BIG’ FOR CONDOMS…AND OTHER CONTRACEPTION MYTHS TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR WEEKEND DATE

 

Infection caused by a foreign body

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I was happy and relieved to have found the source of the problem, but I was also surprised that neither Gary nor I knew that the condom had ‘disappeared’ after we last had sex. Then again, it’s not something that crosses your mind, especially when you use condoms as regularly as we do. I didn’t recall Gary getting out of bed to throw the condom away that night, but I figured that he probably did so after I had fallen asleep.

When I told Gary about what my doctor found, he was surprised, too. He also felt a little guilty. He told me that he was so tired that night that he didn’t even notice the condom was missing. I was glad to be on the pill because I could have fallen pregnant from the mishap, and Gary and I weren’t ready to be parents.

Photo: 123rf

My doctor told me that I was lucky to have seen her when I did. Because the condom had been stuck inside me for several days, it had caused an infection. Had I waited any longer to get examined, the infection could have gotten much worse, she said. She gave me some antibiotics to clear up the problem, but since the condom had already been removed, she told me that I had nothing to worry about.

Now, Gary and I remove and throw away our condoms immediately after having sex, no matter how tired or sleepy we are. Even though my ordeal only lasted about a week, I’ll never forget the pain and discomfort I experienced, not to mention, the panic I felt when I noticed the bleeding and discharge. I don’t ever want to go through that again."

 

Don’t risk an infection: Pull it off after he pulls out

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Believe it or not, it’s not uncommon for a condom to slip off a man’s penis during intercourse and get stuck in his partner’s vagina. This can happen if the condom has not been put on properly (that is, all the way to the base of the penis), or if the condom is not the right fit for your man’s penis (it should fit snugly but comfortably around his shaft). It is also important for your guy to pull out immediately after ejaculating, when his penis is still somewhat hard.  And when he pulls out, he should hold the condom around the base of his penis to ensure it doesn’t come off.

You should also be aware that if a condom slips out during sex, it puts you at risk of developing a sexually transmitted infection or falling pregnant.

Dr Ann Tan, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Women Fertility & Fetal Centre, says that it’s not just retained condoms, but also retained tampons and a general lack of cleanliness in the genital region that can lead to lower genital infections. Typical symptoms include irritation of the vulva and vagina, and the presence of a clumpy yellow, green or grey vaginal discharge. The discharge may also have a foul odour.

If you or your doctor suspects that you have retained a condom, a swab should be taken to determine which organism is present. Then, depending on the organism, antibiotics or an anti-fungal treatment may be prescribed.  

 

*Names have been changed

ALSO READ: 6 TYPES OF BIRTH CONTROL EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT