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Date of last update: 10/14/2017.

Forum Name: Gynecology

Question: Allergic to partner's semen or something else?

 Starla87 - Sat Feb 04, 2006 12:20 am

I have been told recently that I am allergic to my partners semen. I always get a burning, stinging, bloating feeling right after sex. The next day there is a foul smelling discharge that can last up to a week or longer. The only suggestion was to not have sex or wear a condom...
My partner has prostate problems and I was wondering if this has anything to do with it? I was also wondering if his diet could have an affect on how I react to him as I have some food allergies? I know this may sound silly but it's a thought.
I don't know if this helps you at all but my partner has a history of prostatitis, he also has a physical every 8 months to hold a pilot's license so I know he doesn't have a STD. We have been a couple for 2yrs and this is an on going problem. Sometimes worse than others. As you can imagine this is not having a positive effect on our love life. I have searched the Web high and low for an answer and there doesn't seem to be much on the subject. His doctor said he'd never heard of an allergy like that, and was wondering if it were even possible.
Any suggestions or answers to my problem would be appreciated. Thank you, Starla
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:01 am

User avatar Hello,

Allergic contact dermatitis to condoms has been well documented. There are two types of hypersensitivity reactions associated with this phenomena; namely, Type I and Type IV. You will find the reference below.[1]

Do you experience the same symptoms after sex without a condom?

Best regards.

1. Foti, Caterina; Bonamonte, D.; Antelmi, A.; Conserva, A.; Angelini, G.Allergic Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Condoms: Description of a Clinical Case and Analytical Review of Current Literature. Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology, Aug 2004, Vol. 26 Issue 3, pp 481–485.
 Starla87 - Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:09 am

Dr. Fouad,
I should start with a thank you for your reply, although I may not have been clear on my problem and I apologize if I have wasted your time. I should have stated that I do not have a reaction to condoms. The only time I have this reaction is after sex without the use of a condom. These uncomfortable and undesirable symptoms last anywhere from 3 -7 days.
 Dr. Tamer Fouad - Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:44 am

User avatar Hello,

Anaphylaxis caused by coital exposure to human seminal fluid is a rare occurrence. Since the initial report in 1958,[1] approximately 30 cases of seminal fluid–induced anaphylaxis have been described.[2]

The underlying type of allergic reaction is most commonly Type I hypersensitivity reaction associated with Ig E but some cases of Type II reaction have also been reported.

Coital anaphylaxis has also been attributed to exposure to exogenous allergens transferred through semen during sexual intercourse. Such unusual reactions
occur when a male partner ingests a food (eg, walnuts) or drug (eg, penicillin) to which there is established sensitization in the female partner.[3]

A history of atopic disease is the most consistent risk factor. However, anecdotal case reports have been associated with gynecologic surgery, injection of anti-RH immunoglobulin, and the postpartum state.[3]

These cases present with post-coital vulvitis. The diagnosis is suspected whenever the pathology is related to coitus. The diagnosis is confirmed by certain allergic tests and disappearance of symptoms when using condoms.

However, seminal plasma hypersensitivity is essentially a diagnosis by exclusion. A detailed history is essential to rule out underlying causes, such as sexually transmitted diseases, latex sensitivity, or transfer of food or drug proteins from the male sexual partner to the female who might be sensitized to these agents or other contactants, such as fragrant sanitary napkins.[3]

The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to use a condom - if you are not allergic to latex. But other allergy treatments may be useful as well. If you are trying to get pregnant, your doctor may recommend artificial insemination with sperm washed free of semen proteins to prevent a reaction.

1. Specken JLH. Fen Merkwardig geval van allergi in de gynaedogie. Ned Tjidscr Verloskd Gynaecol 1958;58:314-8.
2. Bernstein JA, Sugumaran R, Bernstein DI, Bernstein IL. Prevalence of human seminal plasma hypersensitivity among symptomatic women. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1997;78:54-8.
3. Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; Joint Council of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. The diagnosis and management of anaphylaxis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Mar;115(3 Suppl):S483-523.
 Starla87 - Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:22 am

Thank you Dr. Fouad. I will check out the references you gave me and read more on Coital anaphylaxis. Thank you again for your help. Best reguards, Starla

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