Health And Wellness

How To Know If You're Allergic To Semen

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woman tongue out

If pregnancy scares and STD worries weren’t enough, now we have to worry about being allergic to sperm. Apparently, a sperm allergy is rare, but, unfortunately, they do exist.

Sperm allergies affect about 40,000 women in the United States. For some whose stomach turns with just the thought of semen, feigning this allergy could actually get you out of a lot of sticky situations.

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What are the symptoms of a sperm allergy and being alleric to semen?

According to the experts at the International Society for Sexual Medicine, a person with a semen allergy is allergic to the proteins that make up the spunk. Or, the allergy can come from certain medications or food allergens in the sperm that can trigger an allergic response.

While the allergy isn’t very common, when it is seen, it’s usually by women. Symptoms will occur around 30 minutes after contact with semen, usually inside the vagina, and they may include:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • A burning sensation
  • Hives

This can be pretty scary, as many of these symptoms are the same as STDs and other infections. What’s even worse is that these symptoms might go beyond your vagina by showing up on your skin and in your mouth!

While the symptoms are often localized, they have been known to spread throughout the body, causing the following severe symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Breathing troubles
  • Anaphylaxis (which is so dangerous that it can cause death)
  • Swollen tongue or throat
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing

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How is a sperm allergy diagnosed?

Experts say that being allergic to sperm isn’t that common, but they also say it may not be reported because people confuse the symptoms with other things.

It’s common to mistake a semen allergy for a yeast infection or herpes, but there are a few ways to tell the difference. For one, the cottage cheese-like discharge present with a yeast infection does not occur with a semen allergy.

If you are having issues due to sex, the diagnosis can be a bit of a journey. Doctors will typically use a process of elimination, testing you for infections and STDs, and then look for allergies to latex, spermicide, and lubricated products before testing for a semen allergy.

Your doctor may send you to an allergist, but you could also do some tests of your own at home with your partner by putting his semen on your skin after it leaves him, and see if symptoms show up. Timing is also really important, because semen allergy symptoms will show up shortly after your partner ejaculates.

Are there treatments for a sperm allergy?


If you do figure out you are allergic to sperm, all hope is not lost. A study in Obstetrics and Gynecology documents a woman who cured her allergy by consistently exposing her vagina to small doses of semen over time. 


You can take an over-the-counter antihistamine before you have any sexual activity. This will help reduce your symptoms when you come into contact with the sperm.


Though it may not technically be a treatment, using a condom as a precautionary measure can reduce the risk of experiencing symptoms. However, if you suffer from any extreme reactions, you may want to carry an EpiPen.

Does a sperm allergy affect your ability to conceive?

While it may be difficult for women with this allergy to get pregnant, doctors say it’s still possible using artificial insemination. With artificial insemination, the sperm will be washed of all of its proteins before it's injected, thus preventing an allergic reaction.

If you suspect that you have a semen allergy, start keeping track of your sexual activity and your symptoms, and make sure to give your doctor a visit.

RELATED: 11 Signs You're Sexually Allergic To Someone (It's A Real Thing!)

Shannon Ullman is an editor and writer with wanderlust who has traveled for the last 11 years. Visit her website for more.