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Wife Allergic to Husband’s Sperm Still Together

Update Date: Apr 11, 2013 10:59 AM EDT

When two people meet, the concerns of a semen allergy are probably one of the last things on their minds. For newlyweds Jeff and Clara, both names altered per request, they thought everything was almost perfect when they initially met and dated, until they took things into the bedroom. Clara, after experiencing a horrible reaction post-sex, which included burning, swelling, and redness was afraid that she had gotten a sexually transmitted infection. However, to her dismay, she found out that she had seminal plasma hypersensitivity, which, in laymn's terms, meant that she was allergic to her husband's semen.

After attempting to block the allergic reactions via condoms, the couple found that avoiding intimacy was their best option, although it took a toll on their marriage.

"I had this bizarre reaction," Clara explained before seeking medical help. Jeff added, "It's really bizarre. Neither of us had ever come across anything like that. It was a real problem, because everything else was great. We were madly in love, but it was a real game-changer for a while."

Seminal plasma hypersensitivity, despite not being widely known, afflicts nearly 20,000 to 40,000 women within the United States. This number, provided by Dr. Jonathan Bernstein, a professor from the University of Cincinnati and a specialist on allergies and immunology, was definitely higher than most would believe. But, the condition is still extremely rare with one doctor from the Centers for Vulvovaginal disorders in Washington, D.C., Dr. Andrew Goldstein, reported to have only treated nearly a dozen of these cases within the past 10 years. Dr. Bernstein, who recently treated the couple, stated that women with this condition can also break out into hives and have a "needle sticking into their vagina" feeling as well.

Due to the strange condition and lack of information, many women are not treated properly for it. In Clara and Jeff's case, what was abnormal was that Jeff experienced some similar allergic reactions as well, which is not commonly seen in previous cases. The frequency of his reactions was extremely low and with the help of an antihistamine, his pain was alleviated. For Clara, on the other hand, she tended to develop yeast infections along with her numerous painful reactions.

"The swelling was worst immediately after sex. It would take 24 hours to subside and my skin would be irritated as if you'd put a chemical on it that caused it to burn. It was almost raw and took a while to heal," she described.

Fortunately for Clara and Jeff, they persevered through their marriage and persistently looked for treatment options that would make their marriage life better. They sought out the help of Dr. Bernstein, who is considered to be one of the top experts in this field. Dr. Bernstein helped desensitize Clara by isolating the proteins in Jeff's semen that she was allergic to. Clara then had to have an intravaginal "graded challenge," which is a process that involved introducing her body via an injection every 15-20 minutes for two to three hours to the diluted version of the allergen, which would ideally increase her tolerance for the semen.

Ever since the treatment, the couple has reported a significant decrease in pain after sexual intercourse. They wanted to share their experience so that couples that might be suffering from the same condition can learn more about the possibilities available. 

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