Women who are allergic to semen
This is a rare skin reaction in women which can have an emotional effect on the life of the couple
Semen allergy is a rare condition in women, and is often incorrectly diagnosed, as it may be confused with other skin disorders. The symptoms include redness and itching of the skin when in contact with semen. This condition may interfere with the couple’s private life.
Women who suffer from this allergy usually detect it when they are young, at the age of 20 to 30. The most common symptoms are itching, burning and erythema – reddening of the skin- in the vagina. Such symptoms usually disappear immediately after being in contact with the semen and even for up to one hour afterwards.
This skin reaction takes place because the woman is allergic to the proteins in the semen, and in particular, the glycoproteins of the prostate. Despite the uncomfortable effects it causes, many scientific studies report that this condition has no effect on the woman’s fertility.
A condition that is difficult to diagnose
This allergy was first diagnosed in the nineteen fifties. However, since it is a very rare condition, it is often confused with other skin allergies, vaginal infections, venereal diseases or even with some food allergies transmitted through the semen.
The latest study on semen allergy was conducted at Central Manchester University Hospital. Women aged from 19-29 years with symptoms of this allergy took part in it. Three types of tests were conducted at that time with three different semen samples from the women’s partners which were previously treated to separate the sperm from the seminal fluid. It was observed that the women only reacted to the untreated semen, indicating that the allergy was due to its proteins.
Effect on the couple’s relations
This condition may have an affect on the couple’s emotional stability. The development of this condition may lead to stress and anxiety; these feelings can be mitigated by using a condom during sexual intercourse in order to attenuate the symptoms of the allergy.
In more extreme cases, if the discomfort of the allergy and potential complications make it impossible to have sexual intercourse without protection, the couple can use assisted reproductive technology to enable the woman to become pregnant.
Testing for hipersensitivity to seminal fluid-free spermatozoa. M. Carroll, G. Horne, R. Antrobus, C. Fitzgerald, D. Brison, M. Helbert. Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Human Fertility. The British Fertility Society, UK. June 2013