Anonymous on September 30, 2011

Am I allergic to sperm? I have a burning feeling after sex.

My husband and I don’t use protection during intercourse, and when we’re finished I have a burning feeling in my vagina. Could I be allergic to his sperm?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on September 30, 2011

Thanks so much for your question. I’m sorry about your discomfort, and I’ll do my best to help.

First, a burning sensation after sex could mean a number of things...but being allergic to sperm is unlikely. 

Could you be having sex without adequate lubrication? Many couples need a little help in the lubrication department...and when couples have sex without adequate lubrication, it’s possible to feel sore or raw after sex. To help with this, look for a water-based sexual lubricant at a drug store. It’s important to look for water-based lubricant if you ever do use latex condoms because oil-based lubricants can weaken latex. 

If you are already using a lubricant, it’s possible that your symptoms are caused by a reaction to that specific brand. You can talk to your doctor about these possible allergies or irritations for help. 

Some vaginal infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis can cause discomfort in the vagina, too. It’s best to have your doctor determine if one of these infections is causing your discomfort for the right diagnosis and treatment. 

When was the last time you and your husband were tested for STDs? Some STDs can cause a burning irritation in the vagina after sex. If you haven’t both been tested for STDs lately, it’s a good idea to do so. That way you can both be treated for any STDs ⎼ if you have any. This is particularly important because you say you aren’t using protection during sex. That’s certainly fine if you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship...but getting tested for STDs first can help prevent you from passing STDs back and forth.  

Remember, most of the time STDs don’t show any signs or symptoms for a long time. So getting tested is the only way to know your STD status for sure. The good news is that most STDs ⎼ like most vaginal infections ⎼ can be effectively treated (in some cases, cured) with prescription medications.

Hopefully, my answer gave you some options to think about, but to be sure of what’s causing your irritation, visit your doctor or gynecologist. 

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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