Sperm allergy is also known as semen allergy or seminal plasma hypersensitivity. This is a rare allergic reaction to proteins found in semen. It commonly affects women. Here is more on sperm allergy symptoms and treatments.
The sperm is a sex cell that contains chromosomes important in reproduction. To allow for its mobility through the body and into the female egg it is covered in a fluid referred to as semen. Semen contains millions of sperms, antigens, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Also, present and in high concentrations is albumin a glycoprotein that is present in the seminal fluid.
However, the presence of this protein can have some negative effects such as allergies. These allergic reactions occur when the sperms proteins touch the skin of a recipient who is hypersensitive to certain proteins. The immune system recognizing a foreign body releases white blood cells upon sensing an attack and launch a defense against the ‘newcomer”. The release of antibodies against the protein semen causes a reaction known as seminal plasma protein allergy or seminal plasma hypersensitivity.
Sperm allergy is experienced by both men and women. It is less a reaction to the sperm but more to the seminal fluid which contains a prostate specific antigen. Though experienced mostly in women this reaction occurs during anal, vaginal or oral sex. In men, it occurs during ejaculation or when the semen comes in contact with the blood.
The allergy usually experienced twenty minutes after copulation can last for an hour or a couple of days. It occurs not only in the genital area but on areas on the skin that come in contact with the semen.
Sperm Allergy Symptoms
Different symptoms are experienced for both parties early or later but for the women, they may experience:
- Itching and swelling in genital area when the tissues come into contact with the protein semen.
- The antibodies released may cause inflammation of the affected skin. This results in burning, redness and skin irritation around the genital area and contact area
- Hives which appear red and swollen and difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis causes a whole system shut down due to ingestion or contact and sends the body into shock due to low blood pressure and breathing issues.
- Deep skin tissue swelling also known as angioedema on throat, feet, mouth, eyes, and hands. The penetration of the proteins into the skin tissues may prompt the release of white cells to fight off the attack. It may result in clumping of the cells leading to swelling.
- Diarrhea, nausea, and gas mostly experienced during fellatio. The swallowing of these proteins produces a chemical compound Its reaction with the gastrointestinal tract contracts the stomach muscles resulting in diarrhea. It may also be absorbed through the genital area and it’s absorbed by the colon resulting in diarrhea.
Men may experience different symptoms since it usually involves a problem with their immune system and blood that include:
- Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue since it may occur due to a cut off of some blood vessels.
- Sweating, headaches, fever, flu, burning eyes and a runny nose when semen is released. These can be experienced immediately and can last for a week.
Can You Get Pregnant If Your Allergic To Sperm
Sperm allergy is not a direct cause of infertility. However, allergies to semen can make it difficult to conceive especially to due to the physical and psychological impact. It may make intimacy very difficult for obvious reasons. No one wants to deal with a breakout when trying to conceive. Women with severe reactions should consider intrauterine fertilization.
It is very important for couples dealing with sperm allergy to know that it should not get in the way of conceiving and starting a family.
Can You Be Allergic To Sperm If Swallowed
In a rare case known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity, some people may be allergic to proteins found in semen. In this case, you can use barriers for oral sex to prevent making contact with ejaculate.
Semen is edible. If swallowed, just like food, it will travel down the esophagus and will be digested. Allergies to semen when swallowed commonly present as stomach upset; gas and diarrhea.
Causes of Sperm Allergy
Trauma and infection. A physical damage or infection may result in the release of blood. The mixture of blood and semen trigger the immune system (immunoglobulins) which launch an antibody attack to the semen. If this occurs during copulation it may have an allergic reaction on the recipient if they happen to have an infection or male if it occurs within his system.
Vasectomy. The process involves cutting off the sperm carrying chord causes the sperms produced to be directly absorbed by the body. The absorption of the dead sperms triggers the body’s immune system antigens to produce antibodies to attack the sperm. This is because they are viewed as foreign organs.More so the process may cause a pooling of blood within the tissues causing an internal allergic reaction.
Testicular torsion which occurs when the testicles are suspended due to a twist in the spermatic cord. This results in blood filled semen which can cause a serious allergy upon ejaculation.
Post orgasmic illness syndrome. It may result from hormonal imbalance, an autoimmune reaction to semen and cytokines released during ejaculation. This triggers the immune system response causing a reaction that includes flu, fever, and sweating. The syndrome may also affect the urinary tract which may cause tissues damage upon ejaculation.
Sperm Allergy Testing
Condoms can be used to test the allergy. The use of protection will prevent any semen leakage to the skin surface. It is important to note that one may allergic to sperm when with one partner but not with others.
Skin prick test or semen Immuno cap test. Surface injections are used to introduce a diluted form of semen with less seminal fluid to the skin. Any form of bump or itchiness is recorded to ascertain the severity of an allergic reaction.
Intradermal test– this involves injecting a small amount of semen under the skin of both partners to test the allergy.
Radioallergosorbent Test also known as Allergen-specific immunoglobulin (IgE) test. This involves the use of blood and semen. The presence of antibodies in the blood will result in the combination of these two specimens. The further use of an anti-immunoglobulin antibody will reveal the severity of the allergy.
Though minimal Infertility problems can arise from sperm allergy. This occurs when the seminal fluid which carries the sperm is destroyed before it reaches the egg for fertilization. The reaction to particular proteins triggers white blood cells attack the semen before it swims for attachment.
Hypersensitization or immunotherapy
This is often recommended for males who react to their own semen. This involves the gradual injection of high concentration of own semen under the skin to accustom the body and prevent it from severe reactions. The process is conducted after every 15 minutes for several hours with higher doses administered gradually.
This treatment is done to the females who have allergic reactions. The process involves introducing amounts of diluted semen into the vagina to accustom it to the semen. The semen is diluted to create more of a serum and it acts more of a vaccine where the dose is increased gradually every 20 minutes for several hours. For best effect, this procedure is conducted at least twice a week.
Protein desensitization or allergy shots
It involves injecting amounts of proteins similar to those found in the partner’s semen into the blood stream of the female recipient. Injections are made under the skin to insert the proteins directly into the blood stream and body system. The aim is to lower the body’s reactiveness in producing white blood cells. It is administered gradually after every 15 minutes for several hours for several weeks
Use of medications
Antihistamines. Upon sensing attack the antibodies produce histamines that cause itchiness and inflammation, runny nose as well as congestion. This is a way of alerting the immune system to respond. The use of antihistamines helps to reduce these symptoms, especially if in excess.
Use of epinephrine which immediately opens the airway allowing for proper breathing in the case of anaphylaxis.
Use of oral corticosteroids to deal with allergy problems or breathing difficulties. The use of steroids helps to stop the cytokine release associated with post orgasmic illness syndrome
Natural Treatment. Herbal medicines such as Tribulus and Echinacea which help to fight infections, stop premature ejaculation and boost the immune system. This helps to get rid of the itching, swelling, and infections that are associated with sperm allergy. More so it is used in the treatment of Post orgasmic illness syndrome
Emotional Freedom Technique and Neuro linguistic programming. This forms of treatment are used to treat Post orgasmic illness syndrome that may be caused by neurosteroid synthesis.
Artificial insemination which removes all the protein from the semen and re-injects it into the female reproductive organs
Use of a condom. It offers a more protective solution to semen contact. However, in extreme cases where there is a need for reproduction in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination can be used.