Tips for Safely Storing Birth Control

Proper Contraceptive Storage Is Important

Birth control storage can greatly influence its effectiveness. No matter what contraceptive options you choose, it's worth taking a moment to consider safe storage. 

Condoms can usually last four years if kept in their original, sealed packaging in a cool, dry, and dark place (away from humidity, heat, air, and sunlight). Unless you’re planning to use a condom that day, don’t carry it in a wallet or pocket as the friction caused by opening/closing a wallet or from walking may cause tiny holes in the condom.

Birth control pills also need to be properly stored. Most pill companies suggest that you store your pills at room temperature away from light, moisture, and children. At the same time, it's helpful to keep your pill pack in a convenient place for easy daily access. Only you will know the ideal spot to keep your pills handy but safe at the same time.

NuvaRings (the birth control vaginal ring), as well as the Ortho Evra birth control patch, can be a little trickier. These should be kept below 85 degrees F at all times and preferably under 77 degrees F.

Let's take a look at several practical (and often discrete) contraceptive storage options, and then share some tips on making sure your contraceptives are safe and will do the job.

1
Condom Cubes

Condom Cubes. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

These classy boxes are perfect for anyone who values practicality and style. Condom cubes come in both masculine and feminine styles and can usually hold up to about 12 condoms. They have a magnetic flap for easy, one-handed access. This container helps to discreetly and conveniently store condoms. Keeping a condom cube on a night-table may also help enhance your lovemaking as it eliminates the mood-ruining hassle of searching for a condom.

2
Trendy Reminder Birth Control Pill Cases

Pill Compacts with Alarm. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

The Pillpak is a trendy birth control pill case with a built-in alarm. They are available in both rectangular and circular designs and can accommodate most brands of combination oral contraceptives. Simply place your pill case into the Pillpak, set the time and the alarm, and this functional pill container will remind you each day when it is time to take your pill.

The PillPak can significantly help to reduce oral contraceptive failure as ​forgetting to take your birth control pill increases your risk of pregnancy. Pillpaks available in an assortment of colors and prints with prices ranging from $5.95 to $21.95.

3
Sophisticated "Just In Case" Condom Cases

Just In Case Condom Compacts. Photo © Just In Case

A woman can rest assured knowing that she will always be prepared for a safe, sexual encounter by carrying a condom or two in one of these fashionable condom cases. Each compact opens up to reveal a mirror and has a hidden compartment to store condoms.

"Just in Case" compacts provide a discreet and sophisticated way for women to carry condoms, just in case an amorous situation arises. According to Co-Founder, Rachael Sudul, "We want to empower women to take care of themselves, to be confident while always upholding their requirement for style and discretion." From "bling" to elegant, Just In Case condom compacts are available in an array of colors and sparkling Swarovski crystals with prices ranging from $15 to $199

4
Elegant Wooden ToiTissue Box

Photo Courtesy of ToiBocks

The ToiTissue box is designed as a fully functional tissue holder that will hold about an inch worth of tissues in the top. What makes this product so great is that there is a secret storage area (just tilt the holder and a drawer perfect for storing small items like condoms or birth control pill packs, slides out. Because the ToiTissue is made to appear as just a tissue holder on your nightstand, it will easily be overlooked by guests or children.  

According to president Dawn Tulman,Necessity is the mother of invention.” Dawn designed the Original ToiBocks as a discreet way to maintain privacy as well as keep her contraceptives out of sight from her four-year-old. The philosophy at ToiBocks is that everyone has a right to have a special place for personal items, but a place that is also easily accessible when needed.

5
Ortho Birth Control Pill Compacts

Ortho Pill Pack Compacts. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

In 2002, pill manufacturer Ortho created these stylish pill compacts that allow women to be fashionably discreet while feeling at ease carrying pills on the go and when traveling. These pill compacts have an "any-day" start design and eliminate the need for using stickers to indicate the day.

There are several designs, including limited editions by fashionista Nicole Miller, who is "passionate about continuing to design fashionable compacts for the Pill since it allows women to feel confident and helps them live a more balanced lifestyle." These beautiful cases are no longer available from Ortho, but you may find one on an online auction.

6
Artistic Condom Cases

Artist Condom Cases. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

The ​Kyle Design art studio can create a custom, sleek condom holder case just for you! Thin condom compacts can hold one condom while the deep cases can fit two. Each metal case is handcrafted and is available in brushed silver or polished gold with non-tarnish finishes that reduce the sight of fingerprints. There are over 150 stylish designs to customize your case with, and these condom cases can even be engraved for an extra special touch.

This is a discreet and personable way to carry condoms as the cases can easily fit into a pocket or purse. Prices range from $15.95-$21.95 (plus an additional $5.95 if you have it engraved).

7
French Envelope Condom Carrier

French Envelope Condom Carrier. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

This discreet condom carrier is light-weight and convenient. It is made of soft leather with classic white stitching. Its sleek design can securely contain 2 condoms. The French envelope condom carrier comes in several colors and is a perfect fit for a purse, pocket, briefcase or backpack.

8
Colorful Condom Compacts

Condom Compacts. Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

Given that condoms can be affected by abrasion if carried incorrectly, a condom compact is a practical alternative for storing condoms. These sturdy, plastic cases are available in many colors, ranging from pastels, to primary colors, and even glow-in-the dark (to easily find once the lights go out!).

Available from retailers such as  Undercover Condoms, condom compacts can typically hold 1 to 3 condoms and will keep them safe from wear and tear. They come in a convenient shape that easily and discreetly fits into a pocket or purse.

9
Contraceptive Safety Storage Tips

In addition to carefully storing your birth control in a place where it can be easily accessed, a few other tips are important:

  • Avoid leaving your birth control in a car that could become much hotter than the outdoor environment.
  • Why you fly, keep your birth control with you in a bag or carry-on. If you ship your luggage you can't be certain of the climate of the baggage compartment, and if your luggage doesn't make it, you're stuck. When you drive, keep your birth control in the passenger area of the car rather than the trunk.
  • Don't take your contraceptives out of their packaging, whether that means opening a condom or starting a new birth control pack, until you are ready to use it.
  • While the bathroom may be a handy place to keep your contraception, the humidity from a shower may cause problems with some birth control pills. If you store your birth control pills in the kitchen, keep them away from your stove or your dishwasher where they could be damaged by the heat.
  • If your birth control pills are damaged or expired, don't flush them. Dispose of them properly and start a new pack. Take a moment to learn how to properly dispose of all medications.
  • If you are taking birth control pills, avoid eating grapefruit, use back-up contraception if you need an antibiotic, and try to take your pill at the same time each day.

Bottom Line on Safely Storing Your Contraception

In addition to using your birth control properly, taking the time to consider safe storage is paramount. There are a number of ways to keep your birth control not only handy and discreet, but safe from damage. When you think about storing your birth control, keep in mind that the studies done to determine effectiveness are usually performed in a very controlled environment with regard to temperature, humidity, and other factors. Storing your birth control in a similarly "controlled" environment is an important step in making sure that your experience with effectiveness is a close as possible to what the studies show.

Source:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reproductive Health. Contraception. Updated 02/09/17. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm