When you get itching, burning and swelling down there, it’s natural to assume it’s either a yeast infection or STD (eugh). But it just might be a semen allergy.
If you think that’s impossible because you’ve never been allergic to semen, here’s the thing: the allergy develops out of the blue. So even if your body has been OK with your partner’s semen all this while, it can suddenly be anything but OK with it.
And if you think finding a new beau will solve the problem, it won’t. The allergy is usually not partner-specific and simply occurs because a woman’s body has grown allergic to certain proteins found in semen.
Although it’s pretty rare, it can be painful, and other common symptoms include hives, dizziness, difficulty breathing and even anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction where the body goes into shock). The rash typically appears within 30 minutes after contact with semen and won’t necessarily be restricted to your vaginal area.
Another way to figure out if you’ve got a semen allergy? You suffer from yeast infection-like symptoms but don’t get the cottage-like discharge typical of the condition.
If you think suspect you might be allergic, see your doctor. They’ll get you to do a skin test with your partner’s semen and will likely also test if you’re allergic to latex, spermicide and lubricant products.
If you do have a semen allergy, don’t freak out. Unless you’re allergic to latex, use a condom, but if you’re trying to get pregnant your doctor would probably recommend artificial insemination or IVF. Treatment is available and usually involves desensitisation therapy, which includes allergy shots containing small doses of your partner’s semen and sex at least two to three times a week.
Not everyone has overcome the allergy but there have been several success stories. So keep calm and get it on.