Can You Be Allergic To Sex?
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Sperm Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Lakshmi Devan
2 min read

Sperm Allergy: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

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Sperm allergy is a real thing! When you’re allergic to peanuts, cats, or gluten, you avoid them. What if you’re allergic to sperm? Does that mean you can never have sex? Find out.

Since the very ‘once upon a time’, semen has not just included spermatozoa (the scarier name for sperm). It has also had secretions from the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland that serve nutritive, protective functions, but most importantly, provide fluidity and motility to the spermatozoa, in their adventure to claim the egg.  

Now, you must remember that the kingdom of vagina is very hostile towards these soldiers, fighting them with their acidic, vicious environment, constantly under the watch of immune cells. And to fight them, to go on to win the princess egg’s heart, these tiny soldiers use a big weapon (hint: it’s not a cannon). It’s the basicity that is formed from the proteins, which are secreted by the seminal vesicles, to buffer the acidic environment.  And this seminal plasma, my friend, is exactly what causes sperm allergy, or semen allergy, or more specifically – seminal plasma hypersensitivity. I wish this was the end of the story, but there’s more.

Symptoms Of Sperm Allergy

The common symptoms of sperm allergy in women include:
  1. Swelling
  2. Redness
  3. Soreness
  4. Itching
  5. Pain
  6. Burning sensation and rashes in the vaginal area and outer genitalia
Generally, the symptoms of sperm allergy are localised. Sperm allergy symptoms manifest in areas of contact with semen, but in some extreme cases, the body may have a systemic reaction resulting in hives, difficulty in breathing, inflammation, and worst of all – anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. The symptoms of sperm allergy may take ten minutes to a few hours to show. The onset of sperm allergy is often unpredictable, i.e., sometimes the woman may have it the first time she has sex, sometimes with only certain sexual partners, and sometimes the allergy may begin out of nowhere, even when with a long-term partner.

Diagnosis- The Sperm Allergy Test

Sperm allergy can be quite tricky to diagnose, often getting mistaken as vaginitis, a yeast infection, or sexually transmitted diseases like herpes. The right way to know for sure that it is sperm allergy is through intradermal testing, also commonly known as the sperm allergy test, wherein the doctor injects a small quantity of the partner’s semen under the woman’s skin to observe the body’s reactions. But if you’re restless to know if it’s impending doom in the form of an STD or not, you could find out the difference easily by noting the reaction scenarios, since the symptoms only come while not using a condom. A condom ensures that there is no contact between the ejaculator and the female partner in any way, thus not causing an allergic reaction, or any symptoms of sperm allergy.

Sperm Allergy Treatment

Sperm allergy does not affect egg fertility, sperm motility, or overall fertility of both partners in any way. So, as long as symptoms are not severe, medical intervention may not be necessary.  Here are a few things every man must know about sperm. Therefore, sperm allergy treatment should ensure appropriate desensitisation of the woman’s body to the seminal proteins, to prevent allergic reactions. In cases where the sperm allergy is severe, doctors may suggest intrauterine insemination as a viable option for conception, using sperm that is washed free of proteins; or artificial insemination, for successful pregnancies. By the way, did you know that contrary to popular belief, cycling does not really make men infertile? Click here to know more.

A little disclaimer here – men can be allergic to sperm too. If you experience sneezing, difficulty in breathing, skin rashes, a runny nose, eye irritation, fatigue, or other allergy symptoms after ejaculating, it is possible that you may be allergic to sperm, even if it is your own!

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