Although rare, there have been reports of semen allergy, also called sperm allergy, in both men and women. 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.
Females may experience an allergic reaction after having oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a protective barrier, such as a condom.
Males are less likely to develop semen allergies than females. It is possible for males to experience an allergic reaction after oral or anal sex with another male. Males may also develop an allergic reaction to their own semen. This occurs after the patient's semen comes into contact with his blood. This may happen during a vasectomy (surgical procedure used to make a man sterile), testicular torsion (when a testicle twists inside the scrotum), or after an infection or trauma.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction to semen vary. Some patients may experience burning, itching, or reddening of the genitalia.
The allergic reaction may lead to temporary infertility problems. When the white blood cells attack the semen, they may prevent the sperm from reaching the female's egg. It is estimated that less than two percent of fertile couples have semen allergies, compared to 5-25% of couples who do have fertility problems.
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, has been suggested as a temporary cure for allergies to semen. Patients who want to become pregnant may need to undergo artificial insemination procedures if desensitization is not effective.
Using a condom, which prevents the sperm from entering the body, may help alleviate allergic symptoms. Allergy medications, including antihistamines, have been used to treat and prevent symptoms.
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