Woman Nearly Died From A Severe Allergic Reaction After Sex With Husband

Her husband had been taking antibiotics, and the woman was allergic to an ingredient in the medicine.

a couple in their bed, representing sex
sasint / Pixabay

Her husband had been taking antibiotics, and the woman was allergic to an ingredient in the medicine.

A Maryland woman nearly died from an allergic reaction to her husband’s semen following sex, The Independent reports. It turns out she was allergic to an ingredient in the antibiotics her husband had been taking.

The 46-year-old Maryland woman presented to the emergency room with dizziness, diarrhea, itchy hands and feet, and severe sweating after having sex with her husband. Doctors initially thought she was suffering from sepsis — that is, a severe infection — due to her low blood pressure. However, after further testing, they determined that she was in anaphylactic shock, which can be the result of a severe allergic reaction and can be fatal.

Fortunately, anaphylactic shock can be treated relatively quickly and easily via the administration of epinephrine, the ingredient that’s in so-called “Epi-Pens” that some people with severe allergies carry with them. And indeed, she was sent home with an Epi-Pen.

But what caused the severe allergic reaction in the first place? The woman’s only known allergy was to penicillin, which she said that she hadn’t been exposed to since her childhood. Her husband, however, was taking the medicine. Doctors believe that she was exposed to nafcillin, a medicine in the penicillin class of antibiotics, via her husband’s semen.

In a write-up of the case in The American Journal of Medicine, the authors say that such a thing is extremely rare in the annals of medical history, with only three known cases having been written about in scientific journals.

a bottle of pills
  nosheep / Pixabay

The report’s authors warn doctors prescribing antibiotics to take into account the possibility of allergic reactions not only in the patient, but in the patient’s family as well.

And as for the Maryland woman, she was advised to abstain from sex until a week after her husband had finished his antibiotic treatment.

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Unfortunately, more than one woman has found out that they are allergic to semen, whether in general or their sex partner’s specifically, after having unprotected sex. As The International Society For Sexual Medicine notes, seminal plasma hypersensitivity is rare but not unheard-of, and mostly results from women (and some men) being allergic to specific proteins in the man’s semen.

The condition is often misdiagnosed as vaginismus or an STD.

Fortunately, the disease can be managed through the use of condoms. That, of course, makes things difficult for couples trying to conceive, but a woman with an allergy to her partner’s semen can still get pregnant via in-vitro fertilization, as the condition does not affect her fertility.