Are you allergic to sex?

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Sex is known to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, and even lead to weight loss, but doctors say that, for some women, sexual intercourse can be harmful and sometimes deadly.

"Hopefully, it's caught early enough that it's not fatal, but certainly as you go along in the natural history of this disease with continued exposure, symptoms usually come on faster and are more severe," said Dr. Jonathan Buttram, a certified allergist and immunologist.

Itching, hives, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, horrible uterine cramping and an inflammation of the lining of the rectum are all possible symptoms of seminal plasma hypersensitivity.

"It's actually a systemic allergic reaction to the protein in the seminal fluid itself," said Buttram.

Doctors say the typical patient is a woman having intercourse for the first time. But, there have been cases where women who have been having sex with the same partner for years have developed this allergic reaction.

"It's not due to sperm," said Buttram. "And, in fact, many of these patients have had successful invitro-fertilization or sperm that's been washed free of the seminal fluid protein. So, it's really just the fluid itself has several proteins in it that can be allergic."

The best way to avoid this condition, health officials say, is to not have sex, which for some could be quite a stretch, or you could always fall back on old reliable.

"It can be devastating for a relationship," said Dr. Jai Ellis. "It's devastating in that it makes relations completely impossible, and then it may even make reproducing difficult."

It's an extremely rare, but painful truth for some women. Doctors say if you are allergic to seminal fluid, that doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be able to have children.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.