Friday, April 24, 2009

Do I Need Lead-Lined Condoms?

Hi Dr. Kate,

My long term boyfriend recently had radioisotope therapy to treat his hyperthyroidism. He's received all the necessary info about precautions, including no sex for 2 weeks, and using condoms for 6 months thereafter. However, I'm wondering about blow the use of condoms to protect any transfer of radioactivity in the event of an accidental pregnancy, or is there a real danger to me? I'm thinking if we're allowed to kiss, oral contact with bodily fluids is okay?

Future X-Woman?

Dear X-Woman,

To the best of my knowledge, the sexual precautions are to prevent an accidental pregnancy - radiation early in pregnancy spells trouble for fetal development (mutant sperm and all that). If his doc has given him the okay to kiss you, I can't see semen exposure being a problem, either. He won't emit radiation through his skin or into his fluids - so you won't turn into a mutant (or develop cancer) by swallowing. But you might want to double-up on the contraception during this time, to make sure that you don't become pregnant.

Men undergoing treatment for cancer have similar sexual issues. Chemotherapy can make spunk taste even funkier, so condoms can be helpful for oral sex aesthetics. Radiation therapy using implants that are left inside the body may halt sex of any kind temporarily, but usually it's due to issues of his comfort (and that he's feeling like crap during treatment, and may not have the energy for sex).

Enjoy being as close as you want--
Dr. Kate

Photo credit: jpeepz

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