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Unprotected sex risks: Dangers you should be aware of and what to do

If you have had unprotected sex, you may have placed yourself at risk of sexually transmitted infections. So, here are the health risks and what you should do.
sex as a coping mechanism
Dangers of having unprotected sex. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 25 Mar 2023, 07:00 pm IST
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There are times when you end up having sex without a condom. It may be because you trust your partner or the condom just breaks during sex. But having sex without a barrier can increase your chance of an unplanned pregnancy. Unprotected sex risks also includes contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Going by World Health Organization data, more than one million STIs are acquired every day across the globe. It doesn’t state that all these cases are linked to unprotected sex. But a barrier or protection during sex is always good. So, if you had unsafe sex then it’s good to know about the health risks and things to do after having unprotected sex.

HealthShots consulted Dr Neema Sharma, Director, Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj to know all about unsafe sex.

unprotected sex
Unsafe sex can be dangerous. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is unprotected sex?

Unprotected sex is when contraception is not used, so it can be either missing the contraceptive pills or breakage of a condom or sexual violence or assault, says Dr Sharma.

Unprotected sex risks

If you have had unsafe sex, you may have put yourself at risk of –

1. Urinary tract infection

It is an infection in any part of the urinary system, which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. The expert says that you should remove any remaining fluids in the genital area by passing urine after having unsafe sex. This will help to prevent urinary tract infection to an extent.

2. Sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhoea and chlamydia may pop up two weeks after having unprotected sex. You can have unusual discharge and pain while peeing, bleeding after sex and in between periods. This can be treated with antibiotics. So, a health check up by a gynaecologist to rule out STI should be done. It’s always a good idea to test for STIs again after a few months. Syphilis is tested after 3 months and then again after 6 months. STIs can cause long-term problems of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

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3. Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV)

It damages your immune system and comes in the way of your body’s ability to fight disease and infection. If you have been exposed to a potentially HIV infected person, you need to be careful and go for post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the form of drugs. This will help to reduce the risk of HIV. It is effective up to 72 hours after exposure and needs to be taken daily for 28 days, says the expert.

unprotected sex
Unprotected sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy and more. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Unwanted pregnancy

Unsafe sex might lead to unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, so emergency contraception is required. It comes in the form of emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), also called the morning-after pill, and the intrauterine device (IUD). When you take ECP in the first three days after unprotected sex, it can prevent about 85 percent of expected pregnancies, says Dr Sharma. The most effective method of emergency contraception happens to be a copper IUD. It prevents 99 percent of expected pregnancies if it is inserted any time within five days of having sex.

Your menstruation also says a lot about your health, and if periods are missed, a pregnancy test should be done. Wait to take a test until three weeks after having unprotected sex. If the test turns out to be positive, don’t worry. Just book an appointment with a gynaecologist, who will help you out and suggest what to do next.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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