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Can a Person Be Allergic to Semen?

By HERWriter
 
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Sexual Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D., with the Mayo Clinic, said in rare cases, people have been known to have allergic reactions to proteins in their partner's semen. In medical terms, it’s known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity. ABC News reported an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 women may have this condition.

Wellness.com said this occurs when the body's immune system overreacts when it encounters semen. The white blood cells mistakenly identify proteins in the semen as harmful invaders such as bacteria or viruses and launch an attack against it. Patients who are allergic to semen are allergic to semen in general. Therefore, patients may experience an allergic reaction with other partners.

Dr. Andrew Goldstein, director of the Centers for Vulvovaginal Disorders in Annapolis, MD told ABC News, "The body recognizes semen as a foreign protein just as it would recognize a peanut allergen or pollen, so you have swelling, you have itching; you have inflammation of the nerve endings."

In the NY Daily News, Dr. David Resnick, Director of Allergy at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia, said, “Within half an hour or so after unprotected intercourse, an allergic woman may develop hives, swollen eyes, diarrhea and even breathing difficulties.”

On top of that, this allergy may stand in the way of a woman’s fertility. Wellness.com said when the white blood cells attack the semen; they may prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. However individuals who are allergic to semen are still able to have children. A process called desensitization, which exposes the patient to increasing amounts of semen over a period of time, can be a cure.

This desensitization requires frequent sex. Resnick told WebMD, adding not to try this solution without a doctor's help. Without proper desensitization, sex can be deadly for some women allergic to semen.

Resnick also said in WebMD that this treatment comes in two forms. One is allergy shots containing small doses of the male partner's semen. The other is called intravaginal seminal graded challenge. This treatment takes several hours. Every 20 minutes a doctor places increasing amounts of the partner's semen in the woman's vagina.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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