Safe Sex for Allergic People
Sarah Merson charts a way through the hazards lying in wait for allergic people trying to practise safe sex.
With the risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, we’ve become accustomed to practising safe sex. This involves the use of contraceptive methods, including condoms, spermicides, diaphragms and intrauterine devices (IUDs). But, while taking steps to protect themselves from one danger, those with allergic tendencies may be exposing themselves to others.
Condoms & Diaphragms
Dry dusting powders
For a range of non-allergenic condoms, go to www.condomerie.com
Available in jelly, foam, cream and suppository forms, many spermicides contain an active ingredient called nonoxynol-9. Although nonoxynol-9 is an approved ingredient in spermicides, it may cause irritation or contact dermatitis on the skin of the penis or vagina. Depending on the amount used, it may cause sores and/or stripping of the vaginal and rectal lining, thereby facilitating an infection. As a result, in certain cases, spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 could even increase the risk of STD.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
IUDs made of copper have been linked to everything from immunologic contact urticaria (ICU) to allergic contact
dermatitis (ACD), systemic allergic reactions (SAR) and contact stomatitis (STO), for women who are sensitive or allergic to the metal. Most reports of immune reactions to copper describe systemic exposure as a cause. In the case of IUD use, systemic exposure may be implicated as small amounts of copper sulphate are absorbed through the mucus membrane and carried to the cutis through the blood or lymph.
Human Seminal Plasma Allergy (HSPA)/Seminal Fluid Hypersensitivity
Local symptoms of HSPA include vulvar and vaginal itching, burning, pain, redness, swelling and blister formation, whilst on the other end of the spectrum, HSPA can, in very rare cases result in life-threatening anaphylaxis. The most significant risk for anaphylaxis is in those with a history of allergic asthma or atopic dermatitis.
For some, exercise-induced anaphylaxis can cause problems during or after sex.
Kissing – beware!!
A kiss is not just a kiss….at least not for those with a peanut allergy. Indeed, those suffering from a peanut allergy may put themselves at risk of potentially life-threatening allergic reactions if they kiss someone who has recently eaten peanuts. The best advice to the partner of a peanut-allergic person is that they too should avoid peanuts.
Courtesy of the Cavalier Daily
First published in 2007Top of page