Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Medical News
Male Condoms That Break in Use Do So Mostly by a "Blunt Puncture" Mechanism

June 3, 2008

"Published condom breakage studies typically report the percentage of failures but rarely provide any evidence on the mechanism of failure," explained the study authors.

Over a seven-year period, broken condoms returned to a supplier (SSL, Durex) via consumer complaints were examined to determine the cause of failure. In addition, some customers who reported breakage but did not return condoms were sent a questionnaire on the causes of breakage. Theories proposed for the mechanism of breakage were then investigated on a laboratory coital model.

A total of 972 returned condoms made from natural rubber and polyurethane were examined, with visible features on those that were broken classified. Evidence gathered from examining returns, questionnaire response, and the coital model strongly suggest a single predominant failure mechanism the authors termed "blunt puncture," where the tip of the thrusting penis progressively stretches one part of the intact condom wall until it eventually breaks.

"Blunt puncture appears to be the mechanism of breakage responsible for more than 90 percent of condom breakage not attributable to misuse," the authors concluded. "Knowledge of the main mechanism of breakage should help develop better user instructions, better test methods, and, ultimately, better condoms."

Back to other news for June 2008

Excerpted from:
Contraception
5.2008; Vol. 77; No. 5: P. 360-365; Nicholas D. White, David M. Hill, Steffen Bodemeier




This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:
http://www.thebody.com/content/art46955.html

General Disclaimer: TheBody.com is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through TheBody.com should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.