Symptoms of a Condom Stuck Inside Your Vagina—And What To Do

Learn about potential risks, removal methods, and prevention for a stuck condom

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Is it common for a condom to get stuck inside a vagina during intercourse?

"It's not unheard of," said Alyssa Dweck, MD, New York-based OB-GYN and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. "There are times when I go to do an exam, and lo and behold, I find a condom inside the vagina."

According to Dr. Dweck, if your partner loses their erection while their penis is inside your vagina, the condom can slip off, fold up, and become stuck high inside your body. And it can actually stay there without you noticing—sometimes for days.

Symptoms of a Stuck Condom

So what are some symptoms of a condom stuck in your vagina? A stuck condom isn't as dangerous as, say, a forgotten tampon, but it can be a source of infection, per StatPearls. "If you don't know it's there, it's possible you'll eventually have a discharge or might feel itchy or irritated," Dr. Dweck said.

The amount of time it takes to detect these potential symptoms varies, Dr. Dweck said. Some people might notice that things feel "off" around their vagina within a day, while others might take longer. Plus, you may be at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if the condom fell off during intercourse.

What To Do if a Condom Gets Stuck in Your Vagina

First, take a deep breath. If a condom is stuck in your vagina, it can only go as far in as a sex toy or penis.

The vagina connects to the cervix. UT Southwestern Medical Center described how a cervix is generally closed. The cervix only begins to soften and open during childbirth or medical procedures to help it soften or open. So, typically a condom can only travel as high as your cervix, and then it is stopped.

And, even though the misplaced condom itself probably won't pose an immediate health risk, there are other things to think about—like pregnancy and STIs. "If you realize a condom has fallen off inside of you and you're counting on it for birth control, that's not good since leakage could potentially cause pregnancy," Dr. Dweck said.

If getting pregnant is something you're concerned about, you might want to take emergency contraception—though you need to act fast, as its effectiveness decreases in a matter of days.

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) lists options for emergency contraception. Plan B is available over the counter and should be taken within three days of unprotected sex. Ella, another form of oral contraception, requires a prescription and can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. The copper coil (an intrauterine device) requires insertion by a healthcare professional. The coil is the most effective option and can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex. It can also be used as an effective birth control method for up to twelve years.

When it comes to STIs, you'll need to take action as well, especially if you don't know for sure that your partner has tested STI-free. "If a condom falls off and you're unsure of your partner's status, it's a good idea to get checked because it's possible you've now been exposed to something," Dr. Dweck said.

The other consideration, per Nemours Teen Health, is to check to make sure you get the entire condom out. Sometimes a condom can break and leave pieces inside of you. If the condom is not intact, or you are unsure if part of it is still inside of you, reach out to your healthcare professional for advice.

How To Remove a Condom Stuck in Your Vagina

So how do you actually get the condom out of your vagina? Don't wait for your urine stream to shake it out. Either call your gynecologist and make a same-day appointment for them to remove it, or try to search for it with your own clean finger.

"If you're taking it out yourself, the biggest thing is relaxation," Dr. Dweck said. "There's nothing harder than trying to get something out of the vagina when the muscles are tense and clenched down."

Try removing the condom while sitting in a warm bath or seated over the toilet, and lubricate your finger before putting it inside, Dr. Dweck said. "Then use a hook-like motion to try to fish out the condom," Dr. Dweck said. Be gentle with the motion, especially if you have long fingernails—clean gloves may also be helpful.

Standing and bearing down might help push the condom out, but it may also be more comfortable to lie on your back and feel around. It will come out eventually—the condom can't get lost forever inside your vagina.

How To Prevent Getting a Condom Stuck in Your Vagina

As for what your partner can do to avoid leaving a condom inside your vagina? It is important your partner puts on a condom correctly. Nemours Teen Health explained that your partner should ensure they are choosing a condom that is the right size. It should fit comfortably and be snug—and it should be rolled down the entirety of an erect penis, not just part of it.

It is also important that your partner pulls out correctly. "He should hold on to the base of the condom if his erection is starting to go down as he pulls out," Dr. Dweck said. And ideally, your partner will let you know when the condom appears to be missing.

Also, if you aren't using it already—consider lube. Lubricant can help reduce the chances of the condom getting stuck while also preventing burns and tears that could make sex uncomfortable or unsafe regarding STIs and preventing pregnancy.

Summary

So, if you find yourself with a condom stuck inside your vagina, consider these steps. First, see if you can remove it. If you can, look at it to check that the entire condom is there. If you can't remove it or are concerned part of it is still stuck inside, reach out to your healthcare professional.

Next, consider your concern over the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. If pregnancy is a concern, know that you can purchase Plan B over the counter and that Ella and the copper coil IUD are available through a healthcare professional. Your healthcare professional can also provide advice about the best emergency contraception for your unique health needs and test you for sexually transmitted infections if needed.

Finally, take steps to prevent a condom from falling off during sex by ensuring your partner is putting on a condom correctly and is also pulling out correctly.

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