Allergic to Husband's Sperm?

Almost every time my husband and I have intercourse, I have this horrible burning sensation on the outside of my vagina. I don't itch or have the discharge of a yeast infection. My gynecologist said I may be allergic to my husband's sperm. Is this a common thing and if so what can I do about it?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Women, despite repeated "inoculation," rarely develop an immune or allergic response to semen. Still, sperm allergies may be more common that we once thought. We are only beginning to understand how this might happen.

There have been case reports of complaints ranging from itching and swelling during or after intercourse to anaphylactic symptoms comprising total body itching and shortness of breath in women who were found to be allergic to human semen.

A simple way to see if an allergy might be the problem is to self-test for semen sensitivity by using a condom to see if symptoms abate.

Other potential causes of the symptoms could be an infection which makes the tissue very sensitive. Is he is the only one you've experienced this with? Or is it possible that he is ingesting something that is an irritant to you?

If you still suspect an allergy, there is test available to detect such antibodies. A simple one would be to collect a serum IGG and IGM to detect the body's immune response to the antigen. A lab could detect semen "albumin-specific IgE" and an allergy shot would show a positive reaction to an injection with seminal plasma. Women can be given a course of hyposensitization treatment, after which the problems sometimes disappear.

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