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Allergies Health Center

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Frequent Sex Helps Cure Semen Allergy

Treatment Combines Immune Therapy With Frequent Intercourse
By
WebMD Health News

Nov. 13, 2006 - Women allergic to their partner's semen can be cured by treatments requiring frequent sex, a New York allergist says.

But don't try it without a doctor's help. Without proper desensitization, sex can be deadly for some women allergic to semen.

Yes, some women really are allergic to sex, according to a report at this week's annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in Philadelphia.

These women have powerful allergic responses to their partner's semen, says David J. Resnick, MD, acting director of the allergy division of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Such women may suffer genital itching, burning, and swelling. In severe cases, they may break out in hives or even have trouble breathing.

At the conference, Resnick and colleagues report a case of semen allergy in a Puerto Rican woman who responded well to desensitization therapy.

Treatment, Resnick says, comes in two forms.

One is allergy shots containing small doses of the male partner's semen.

The other is a technique called intravaginal seminal graded challenge. In this treatment, which takes several hours, every 20 minutes a doctor places increasing amounts of the partner's semen in the woman's vagina.

Both treatments require that the woman and her husband have sex at least two or three times a week.

"Treatment failure is associated with couples who do not engage in frequent intercourse that re-exposes the patient to the allergen," Resnick says in a news release.

"Patients not living near their partners can refrigerate or freeze specimens so they can continue frequent exposure," he says.

Like any immunotherapy, the allergy shots or seminal challenge must be started in a facility equipped to treat hypersensitive patients for any severe anaphylactic shock reactions.

Since such life-threatening reactions are possible any time an allergic person encounters an allergen, Resnick recommends that women with semen allergies keep a self-injectable epinephrine kit on hand.

Though case reports of semen allergy are rare, many may go unrecognized. The typical patient, Resnick says, is a woman in her 20s.

Though 41% of allergic women have symptoms during their first intercourse, symptoms tend to worsen with subsequent exposures unless they undergo desensitization treatment.

Semen allergy, Resnick adds, is not a direct cause of infertility.

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