Condom allergies are most often caused by latex
HOW COMMONLY ARE ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO CONDOMS?
Condoms are a reliable remedy for sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. But if you consistently experience burning, itching, or rashes after using a condom, you may want to consider changing condoms.
According to various sources, from 1 to 6% of people (according to a study in 2016 – approximately 4.3% of the world’s population) may suffer from an allergy to condoms. In particular, on latex, as the main material from which they are made.
Therefore, if the reaction occurs 8-24 hours after sex with latex condoms, lasts one to four days, and if there are no unpleasant symptoms after sexual intercourse without a latex condom, you may need to think about the possible presence of this type of allergy.
CAUSES OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO CONDOMS
Natural rubber latex contains proteins that can cause allergic reactions.
At the same time, an allergic reaction to a latex condom is observed in women more often than in men. After all, the mucous membrane of the vagina facilitates the entry of latex proteins into the body.
But it takes a long time before latex sensitivity develops directly: most latex allergies develop slowly, occurring year after year after repeated exposure. Therefore, this type of allergy was quite common among healthcare workers before latex-free gloves became widely available to them.
In addition to healthcare workers, the following are more likely to develop latex allergies:
people who have had multiple surgeries (eg 10 or more), in particular children with spina bifida (spina bifida)
people who are frequently exposed to natural rubber, including workers in the rubber manufacturing and processing industry
people with other allergies such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or allergies to certain foods
In addition, about 30 – 50% of latex allergic patients also have food allergies to certain foods. This is because some vegetables and fruits contain proteins that are structurally similar to those found in latex.
The likelihood of developing an allergy to latex increases with an existing allergy to the following products:
SYMPTOMS OF A CONDOM ALLERGY
If you are allergic to condoms, you may experience common symptoms, including burning, itching, and a mild to moderate rash.
In most cases, people who are allergic to latex or other materials experience a localized reaction. This means that symptoms will only appear where the skin has been in direct contact with the condom.
Symptoms of such a localized allergic reaction include:
In severe cases, a systemic reaction is possible. Symptoms of a systemic allergic reaction include:
urticaria in places that did not come into contact with the condom
swelling in places that did not come into contact with the condom
runny or stuffy nose
· sore throat
flushing of the face.
For example, women who are allergic to latex may experience vaginal swelling, itching, and an even more severe allergic reaction during sex. And, although this is unlikely, the development of anaphylaxis is possible.
Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical attention and an injection of adrenaline.
Signs of anaphylaxis:
· labored breathing
swelling of the mouth, throat and face.
In addition, in women with latex reactions, condoms may increase the symptoms of yeast and urinary tract infections.
HOW TO DIAGNOST AND AVOID ALLERGY TO CONDOMS?
diagnose latex allergy after special testing. If the diagnosis is confirmed, it is best to avoid the use of latex products.
While most condoms are made from latex, there are condoms made from other materials. In particular from:
Polyurethane condoms, like latex ones, prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They are both male and female. In addition, polyurethane is thinner than latex. But such condoms do not stretch, that is, they may not be suitable for everyone.
polyisoprene is a synthetic rubber. Products made from it also protect against pregnancy and STIs. In addition, they stretch better than polyurethane.
This type of contraceptive was used long before the development of the latex industry. They are made from natural raw materials, which is why they are believed to guarantee a natural feeling. However, through the pores that are in the intestinal membrane of sheep, from which such condoms are made, viruses can penetrate. Therefore, such condoms are not suitable for use as a method of protection against STIs. In addition, they, like polyurethane condoms, are available in only one size.
Although latex allergy is the most common source of reaction to condoms, it is also possible to be allergic to other condom ingredients.
If it occurs, changing the brand/manufacturer of condoms may help. In particular, some condoms may contain spermicide, the common active ingredient of which is nonoxynol-9. In sensitive people, it causes irritation, especially with frequent use.