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A rare condition, in which some women can be allergic to sex with men, can occur. The compounds in the semen that appear to trigger this allergy seem to be proteins from the prostate gland.

Women can be allergic to sex

Allergic women produce an antibody to the proteins. This disorder is termed as "human seminal plasma hypersensitivity." If left untreated, this problem is a sure marriage and relationship wrecker. It could also be a source of frustration for the couple who wants to have children but must always use a condom.

The first case of an allergy to human seminal fluid was documented in 1958. Since then, the disorder has been diagnosed in a small number of cases. However, allergists believe the disorder is not readily recognized by gynaecologists.

Clinical presentation during sex allergy

For many women, a sexual allergy is as serious as a heart attack. Most sufferers complain of symptoms that include wheezing, itching, swelling and hives elsewhere on the body, chest tightness, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Semen allergy symptoms include localized reactions such as itching, burning and swelling in the genitals. Some women even report blisters in and near their genitalia. Severe reactions include choking sensation, loss of consciousness, drop in blood pressure or complete circulatory collapse. These distressed women could also die if anaphylactic shock causes the air pathways to swell up and block completely.

Typically symptoms occur within 30 minutes of intercourse, but in rare cases it may be hours or even days late. In some women, the reaction occurs only with one partner while others are allergic to all partners. Also, women are not in all cases allergic to semen itself, but to chemicals in the semen from food, beverages or medications that the man has had, ranging from penicillin to compounds in walnuts.

In an annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, a researcher put forth that about half of all women with semen allergy have other allergies as well, such as skin allergy or hay fever. Most women with the allergy are between age 20 and 30, and 41 percent experience symptoms the first time they have sex. In most cases, symptoms gradually worsen and occur sooner with subsequent exposures.

Diagnosis of sex allergy

Seminal fluid hypersensitivity can be anticipated when a female has zero symptoms after sex with a condom but shows clear symptoms of human seminal plasma hypersensitivity in case of unprotected intercourse. For the initial diagnostic screening, a single sample of the male's ejaculate is needed. But then the allergist needs 5 to 7 days worth of ejaculate to have the volume to formulate enough vaccine for regular injections. A skin reactivity test can confirm if a woman is allergic to seminal fluid.
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