A new research shows that vaginal itching, burning and other related symptoms which occur in women shortly after having sex may be triggered by an allergy to the partner's semen and for some of these women, having sex more often may be the easiest solution to cut such vaginal problems. The findings of the study have recently been presented at the plenary session "Allergy and Asthma in Women," which was held at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Philadelphia.
Moderator of the plenary session Nancy K. Ostrom, M.D., of the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and Research Center, San Diego, Calif. stated: "We are learning that there are significant differences between men and women when it comes to asthma and the other allergic diseases. We as professionals must pay particular attention to gender differences in order to improve diagnosis and treatment of asthma and the other allergic diseases."
Experts speaking at the conference highlighted the fact that 'semen allergy' condition exists, even if its prevalence among women is still unknown. The 'semen' allergy main symptoms relate to itching, burning and other annoying problems including swelling which occur in the genital area of women shortly after having sexual intercourse. However, if the particular type of allergy is extremely severe, it may also lead to the appearance of hives or swelling in other regions of the woman's body, causing the sufferer to experience breathing difficulties.
Describing the allergic condition, David J. Resnick, M.D., Acting Director of the Division of Allergy at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, said that the symptoms usually appear within half an hour, no longer, after the woman had sex with her partner. He also added: "Typically symptoms occur within 30 minutes of intercourse, but in rare cases it may be hours or even days later."
Many times, 'semen allergy' remains undiagnosed and is not identified in women because they use condoms on a regular basis or are abstinent. Medical experts also explained that vaginal itching, burning etc. can be triggered not only by plain semen, but also by different allergens transmitted through the seminal fluid, such as some medications (penicillin included) or some foods and beverages (fizzy drinks, walnuts etc.)
The most common treatment for women who do not have frequent sex with their partners is known as the Intravaginal Seminal Graded Challenge (ISGC) - which involves injecting small amounts of partner's semen under woman's skin repeatedly, in order to prevent the allergy to his sperm.
In women who have sexual intercourse at frequent rates with their partner, the most effective treatment is through immunotherapy. However, women who do not engage frequently in sexual relationships with their boyfriends/husbands may experience treatment failure, as they become allergic to semen if they do not have sex on a regular basis with their partner after receiving special treatment.
Dr. Resnick explained: "Treatment failure is associated with couples who do not engage in frequent intercourse that re-exposes the patient to the allergen. Patients not living near their partners can refrigerate or freeze specimens so they can continue frequent exposure." Therefore, there are plenty of methods to prevent infertility due to semen allergy in women, including immunotherapy, artificial insemination and even in-vitro fertilization.