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What if you are allergic to sperms?

Semen allergy (or seminal plasma hypersensitivity), sometimes also known as sperm allergy is a very rare condition where a person is allergic to proteins present in a man’s semen. It is mostly seen in women.

Symptoms and signs

The common symptoms and signs of semen allergy include itching, burning and redness where semen has touched the skin, usually the external genital region.

Some people show symptoms of generalised allergy such as hives (skin rashes), itching all over the body, dizziness or difficulty in breathing.

Semen allergy is very rare, and itching or redness after intercourse is most likely to indicate a vaginal infection, reaction to any other irritant or an altogether different cause. Using a condom may offer a clue to the diagnosis. If the symptoms are not seen when the partner uses a condom and present only with unprotected intercourse, then allergic semen reaction may be suspected.

Semen allergy may be noted when a woman has sex for the first time, or after she has had sex with other partners with whom she had no allergic reactions. It may be seen with one partner and not with another, or it may be seen with all men, or it may be seen suddenly after having sex with a long-term partner.

Management

If you experience symptoms and signs of semen allergy, consult a doctor. Your doctor may help you in finding out if you have a semen allergy. Allergy testing is done by your doctor, where a drop of your partner’s semen is pricked onto the skin with a needle to check for allergy.

Antihistamines: These are anti-allergic medications that may be given for the treatment of semen allergy.

Condoms: You may be recommended to use condoms during sex to avoid coming in contact with semen.

Desensitisation therapy: A specialist in allergy may advise you to undergo a desensitisation procedure to make the symptoms less severe.

Management of infertility: Sperm allergy usually doesn’t cause infertility, but its symptoms make it difficult for a woman to conceive. Undergoing desensitisation treatment to your partner’s semen may help you to conceive naturally. If sensitivity to semen is severe or life threatening, artificial insemination using sperms washed free of semen proteins may prevent a reaction or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) may be employed.

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References

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  • International Society for Sexual Medicine. What is sperm allergy? Accessed at http://www.issm.info/education-for-all/sexual-health-qa/what-is-sperm-allergy on 24 August 2016.
  • Ludman BG. Human seminal plasma protein allergy: a diagnosis rarely considered. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 1999 Jul-Aug;28(4):359-63.

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