You feel the burn
You’re getting itchy
With an itchy vagina, your first thought would probably be a yeast infection, and that is a good place to start—after all, an estimated 75 percent of women will get at least one yeast infection in her life, making it far more common than a semen allergy. But if you don’t have that telltale cottage cheese-like discharge and the itching only shows up after sex, ask your doctor about a semen allergy, suggests Peter Rizk, MD, fertility expert for Fairhaven Health. Don't miss these nine tips for preventing yeast infections.
This never happened before your current partner
All semen is not created equal. There’s a chance your antibodies react to one particular protein in a new partner’s semen that you’ve never been exposed to in the past, which is why you’re just feeling the symptoms now. “She could be perfectly normal with one person and perfectly uncomfortable with another,” says Dr. Rizk. (Don't miss this scary thing researchers found living in semen.) Unfortunately, that’s also why it can be so tricky to diagnose. Because the reaction is specific to the proteins in your partner’s semen, you likely won’t be able to see an allergist for allergy testing, says Dr. Ross. There are treatments available though. A doctor can desensitize you to your partner’s semen either by inserting a small amount of seminal fluid into your vagina, or give you allergy shots with the semen proteins. Not every allergist will be equipped for the treatment though, so ask a urologist for recommendations, suggests Dr. Ross.
You only get symptoms with unprotected sex
You’re breaking out in hives
Seminal fluid hypersensitivity might not just stay localized in the spot the semen touched. “It can create hives and swelling, similar to what would happen if you have an allergy to anything else,” says Dr. Ross.
You’re having trouble breathing
This isn’t the typical quick breathing you do when things are getting hot and heavy. “You would think something is wrong,” says Dr. Rizk. While a severe reaction is potentially life-threatening, Dr. Rizk emphasizes that he’s never heard of a deadly reaction to semen, though the symptoms might get bad enough to make you go to the ER. Don't miss these other 20 bizarre things you can be allergic to.