If you experience itching along with a burning sensation in and around your vagina, it could be due to a vaginal allergic reaction. There will be redness in your vaginal area along with swelling and discharge. You need to identify the source of your allergic reaction and discontinue its use to treat your symptom. Just keep in mind that vaginal discharge and itching could be due to much more than allergic reactions.
Types of Allergic Reaction on Vagina
You can develop vaginal allergic reactions due to many different things. Here are some of the most common types of allergies that may affect your vagina.
1. Condom Allergy
Latex Condom Allergy
You develop this type of allergy when your partner uses a latex condom. It actually means that your skin is sensitive to latex, a natural substance made of the milky sap of the rubber tree. You develop an allergic reaction because your immune system, which usually reacts to viruses, bacteria, and toxins, also reacts to latex. You may develop a mild, medium, or severe allergic reaction after being exposed to latex.
- Mild reactions: You may only experience some dryness, itching and burning.
- Medium reactions: The symptoms may be the same as you experience in a mild reaction, but they may increase in severity and even affect other parts of your body.
- Severe reactions: You may develop breathing difficulties, hives, and anaphylactic shock which can cause life-threatening consequences.
Spermicide Condom Allergy
For added protection, condoms are now available with a spermicide coating. The spermicide is powerful enough to damage the sperm and ensure it no longer is capable of causing an unwanted pregnancy. The FDA has confirmed that the condoms with a spermicide coating are safe, but some women and even men may be allergic to the spermicide. The reactions may be mild or severe.
- Mild reactions: You may experience redness around your vaginal area along with a rash and itching in the vagina. Some women also develop urinary tract infections or vaginal yeast infection after developing this type of condom allergy.
- Severe reactions: Although quite rare, severe spermicide allergic reactions are possible and can cause symptoms such as abrasions in the vagina, painful irritation, etc. Sometimes, the reaction can be so severe that it can lead to an anaphylactic reaction, which causes breathing problems, drop in blood pressure, swelling, and anaphylactic shock.
2. Chemical Ingredients
Allergic reaction on vagina can be due to your exposure to chemical ingredients in dyes, perfumes, cleansers, soaps, etc. Lubricants, laundry detergents, and medications may as well cause vaginal allergy. You should also be careful with the use of personal hygiene products, such as tampons, toilet paper, and sanitary napkin because they can also cause an allergic reaction. The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction caused by chemical ingredients include itching, burning sensations, and blisters in the vagina.
3. Sperm Allergy
Also called seminal plasma hypersensitivity or semen allergy, sperm allergy develops when you are allergic to proteins found in semen. The most common symptoms of sperm allergy include swelling, redness, itching, pain, and a burning sensation in the vagina. You usually experience these symptoms within 10-30 minutes of getting in contact with semen.
How to Deal with Allergic Reaction on Vagina
1. Deal with Allergies Caused by Condoms
If you think you have condom allergies, the best idea is to see your doctor and confirm if that is really the case. You can always take antihistamines to treat mild allergic reactions. In case you are allergic to latex condoms in particular, you may consider switching to non-latex condoms. Similarly, you can use spermicide-free condoms if that makes you feel more comfortable. Talk to your doctor in case you develop a severe allergic reaction, and they may give you epinephrine to help.
2. Allergies Caused by Chemical Ingredients
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms to confirm if you are allergic to chemical ingredients. In most cases, you can resolve the issue by switching to mild, unscented hypoallergenic soaps and other products. Whenever you use these personal hygiene products, be sure to rinse the area well to prevent any reaction. Use a steroid cream or take antihistamines to treat a mild reaction. Talk to your doctor if symptoms persist.
3. Allergies Caused by Sperm
The only way to prevent a semen allergy is to avoid getting in contact with semen. You can do it by using a condom during sexual activities. You may also talk to your doctor for other alternatives. You can opt for a desensitizing therapy. In this therapy, the doctor will expose you to tiny amounts of semen first and then slowly increase the amount of semen. If you develop a severe allergic reaction to semen, which even keeps you from becoming pregnant, you can try vitro fertilization or artificial insemination to get pregnant.
Note: Keep in mind that your symptoms may be due to another infection rather than a vaginal allergy. This is usually the case when you have eliminated the supposed irritant but are still experiencing the symptoms. You may have a more serious condition if you have symptoms of an allergic reaction on vagina along with additional symptoms, such as pain in the pelvic area, fever, pain during intercourse, and spotting with intercourse. Talk to your healthcare provider to identify the underlying cause.