Are Allergies Cramping Your Sex Life?
Nasal allergies may make you feel anything but romantic. Here's how to get back in the mood.
Even if you don't think you have food allergies, it's important
to watch what you eat. As many as one in three seasonal allergy sufferers
allergic to tree pollen may experience 'oral allergy syndrome' (tingling of the
mouth or itchy throat) after ingesting [certain] foods, Bassett says.
The cross-reaction can be caused by the proteins in fruits and pollens. Tree
pollen allergies can be exacerbated, for example, by foods such as almonds,
apples, apricots, carrots, celery, cherries, kiwi, parsley, peaches, and
Allergic to grass? Watch for reactions when you eat melons, tomatoes, and
oranges. "Often, well-cooked, canned, or frozen food offenders cause no
reaction," Bassett says.
Time to Medicate
Over-the-counter antihistamines such as
Benadryl, Alavert, Zyrtec, or Claritin, along with nasal sprays and eye drops,
can be helpful when you're suffering from common hay fever symptoms. But there
are drawbacks to medicating yourself.
"People go to over-the-counter medications all the time and take an allergy medication
when they have a sinus infection or a cold,"
Bassett says. "If you have ongoing issues, you should speak with a doctor about
what the right treatment is for you and if you need to take it every day."
Some over-the-counter medications can also have undesired effects on your
sex life. Anneliese Curtis Place, a 42-year-old writer from Santa Barbara,
Calif., has had hay fever for at least 15 years, and regularly took allergy
medications like Benadryl and Sudafed to manage her symptoms. She had never
made the connection between allergies and a diminished interest in sex until an
acquaintance made mention of it.
"A friend's sister asked [a group of us] if we realized that these
medications dry out more than just sinuses," Curtis Place said, referring to vaginal dryness. That's when it
clicked for her. "You don't feel like having sex if you have a runny nose, or
feel like you have a head cold," she said. "Then once that's cleared up and
you're trying to have sex and it's painful, it's a real killer on the
Benninger says that antihistamines can be drying and sedating. Those effects
may help calm some of your allergy symptoms, but they
won't do much for your sex life.