When Your Condom Itches… Condom Allergy
It’s important to have safe sex. One of the ways to protect your partner and yourself is by using a condom. Condoms, made out of latex or plastic, are one of the most effective means of contraception and STD prevention. They are covered by spermicides that prevent contraception; however, some men may have an allergic reaction to condoms. There are two forms of condom allergies: spermicide condom allergy and latex condom allergy. These allergies can range from more or less severe.
Spermicide Condom Allergy
As mentioned previously, spermicide coats the condom. This layer prevents conception by damaging the sperm, which prohibits pregnancy. The spermicide coating is FDA approved; however, some men and women may be allergic to it.
This allergic reaction can be mild or severe. The mild reaction for women can cause redness, rashes, or itching in the vagina, or even a vaginal yeast infection or urinary tract infection. For men, the mild allergy will only present itself through the redness and rash of their genitals. If either partner has any of these symptoms, it is best not to use condoms with spermicides.
A severe reaction, while rare, will present itself through genital blisters, painful irritation in the vaginal and rectal areas, and swelling. In most severe cases, it can result in an anaphylactic reaction – swelling, anaphylactic shock, breathing problems, and a decrease in blood pressure. If any of the above symptoms occur, you must receive immediate medical treatment, and if necessary, go to the nearest emergency room.
Latex Condom Allergy
Some individuals are allergic to latex because their body reacts to the particles in it; this allergy carries over to latex condoms. There are two types of latex condom allergies: type I and type IV. Type I is an immediate reaction and can range from severe rashes to an anaphylactic reaction, which can be severely life-threatening. Type IV is a delayed and much milder skin reaction. This reaction to latex presents through hives, redness of the skin, and itching.
If any of the above symptoms present themselves, seek immediate medical attention. An allergy test proves there is an allergy to latex or spermicide condoms, there are specific things that can be done. If it is a mild reaction, antihistamines can treat the skin reaction, while if it is a more severe reaction to the condom, then the individual needs to seek medical attention and treatment in the nearest emergency room. Couples that wish to prevent such allergies must use condoms free of either spermicide or latex, which can be more prone to leaking or be less effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases.