The use of condom is one of the best methods of contraception in women. It also prevents sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection, which is a major reason of morbidity and mortality. Condom allergy can occur in women as well as in men. Most of the condom allergy in women is caused due to the use of latex rubber condom. A woman may often be allergic to latex rubber or spermicide gel and lubricant which is present in the condom. This symptoms associated with the allergic reaction may last from a few minutes to several hours.
In females who naturally have high levels of immunoglobulin can manifest the symptoms associated with allergy which in turn can interfere with their ability to have sexual intercourse in future. Treatment of allergic reaction to condoms depends upon the severity of the symptoms.
Symptoms of Condom Allergy in Women
The common symptoms associated with condom allergy include,
- Itching in the vagina soon after a sexual act using condom. The severity of the itching can depend upon the level of allergic reaction experienced by the female.
- Redness and swelling of vagina and the labia are also commonly observed.
- Burning during sexual intercourse may also be experienced in some females
- Some females may complain of foul smelling discharge from the vagina, which can be attributed to secondary infection caused due to excessive scratching of the vagina.
- Painful coitus can also be experienced, especially in cases associated with severe allergic reaction.
In addition to the local symptoms of condom allergy, some females may manifest a host of systemic symptoms which include,
- Hives and urticaria rashes on the skin. These hives and urticaria rashes are often fluid filled vesicles which are associated with severe itching and burning sensation.
- Breathing trouble may be experienced by some females, especially those who have a history of asthmatic attacks.
- Sneezing and running nose may be experienced in cases of mild allergic reactions
- Anaphylactic reaction though rare can occur with latex material. The symptoms are swelling in throat, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, dizziness.
- Gastro-intestinal disturbances like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may be experienced in some cases with a mild low grade fever.
The local allergy symptoms are similar to yeast infection in vagina, but in yeast infection there is foul smelling vaginal discharge, which is usually absent in condom allergy.
The risk of vaginal yeast infection increases in a women having condom allergy. It is usually caused by nonoxynol-9 spermicidal lubricant in condom.
What should a Woman do if she has Condom Allergy?
If a woman has condom allergy, the safest way is to adopt other alternative form of contraception such as birth control pills, IUD’S (intrauterine contraceptive devise) etc. Unfortunately, these alternatives may not help her to prevent STD’s. The other option she can try is polyurethane condoms, they may be safe for women having latex condom allergy.
Treatment consists of antihistaminic medication. It has to be taken after consulting your doctor. Homeopathic drugs like Apis Mel and Cantharis are considered to be beneficial in management of allergic symptoms associated with condom allergy.