Semen allergy, also known as sperm allergy or hypersensitivity to seminal plasma, is a rare allergic reaction that arises as a response of the immune system to proteins in man’s semen.
This type of allergy is more common in women, but it can also happen in men, causing symptoms such as redness, itching, and swelling in the skin area that has been in contact with the fluid.
Although allergy to male semen does not cause infertility, it can hinder the process of becoming pregnant, especially due to the discomfort caused by the problem. Thus, when there is a suspicion of allergy, it is advisable to consult a doctor to start treatment, in order to relieve symptoms.
Generally, the most common signs and symptoms of this allergy, appear in the place that was in direct contact with the semen, and include:
- Redness in the skin or mucosa;
- Intense itching and / or burning sensation;
- Swelling of the region.
These symptoms usually appear between 10 and 30 minutes after contact with the semen, and can last up to several hours or days. In some women, the allergy can be so severe that other signs appear that affect the whole body, such as red spots on the skin, a sensation in the throat, cough, runny nose, increased heart rate, hypotension, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, badly being, dizziness, pelvic, difficulty breathing, or even loss of consciousness.
Although it is rarer, this type of allergy can also happen in men, who may be allergic to the semen itself. In these cases, it is possible that flu-like symptoms may appear, such as fever, runny nose, and tiredness, just minutes after ejaculation.
How to confirm the diagnosis
In order to make the correct diagnosis, it is advisable to consult a gynecologist, in the case of women, or a urologist, in the case of men. The doctor may need to do several tests to confirm the diagnosis, since there are other conditions that cause the same type of symptoms, such as candidiasis or vaginitis, for example.
However, one way to help identify whether semen is the cause of symptoms is to assess whether they continue to appear even when using a condom during intimate contact, because if there is no direct contact with semen, they may be a sign of another. problem.
Who is most at risk
Although the specific cause that leads to the emergence of sperm allergy is not known, it is possible that the risk is greater in people who already have some type of allergies, such as allergic rhinitis or asthma, for example.
In addition, other factors that appear to increase this risk include:
- To spend a long time without having intercourse;
- Being in menopause;
- Use the IUD;
- Having removed the uterus.
In addition, the semen of men who have removed part or all of the prostate also appears to cause the greatest number of allergic reactions.
How the treatment is done
The first form of treatment recommended to relieve the symptoms of semen allergy is to use a condom during intercourse, in order to try to avoid coming into direct contact with the semen, thus preventing the development of the allergy. Here’s how to put the condom on correctly.
However, this form of treatment may not work for those who are trying to conceive or for men who are allergic to their own semen, so the doctor may prescribe the use of antiallergens. In the most severe cases, where the allergy can cause difficulty in breathing, the doctor may even prescribe an injection of epinephrine, to be used in emergency cases.
Another form of treatment is to decrease sensitivity to semen over time. For this, the doctor takes a sample of the partner’s semen and dilutes it. Then, small samples are placed inside the woman’s vagina every 20 minutes until the sperm concentration is reached. In these cases, it is expected that the immune system will stop responding so exaggeratedly. During this treatment, the doctor may also advise you to have intercourse every 48 hours.