Woman’s nut allergy has complicated sex in a surprising way

Science and Health

A woman with a nut allergy was in for a sickening surprise when she found out that the very allergy she’s lived with and grown accustomed to was to blame for some serious discomfort she had in her nether regions.

The 28-year-old woman had a history of anaphylaxis caused by the presence of antibodies called immunoglobulin E; in other words, she had IgE-mediated anaphylaxis as a reaction to peanuts and tree nuts.

She came to her doctor one day complaining of inflammation of her vagina called vaginitis. The symptoms of vaginitis include discharge, itching and even pain. In this specific woman’s case, the sensation was one of pain and burning.

The twist was that she was specifically experiencing this discomfort after male ejaculation during sexual intercourse.

How could this be?

As it turns out, her sexual partner hadn’t been avoiding the very foods that she is so sensitive towards, meaning that she was experiencing an allergic reaction after sex through his semen.

A couple in bed together, sex (Illustrative) (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Although it’s quite a nutty situation, the situation was heavy on the heart for the patient, who could not naturally conceive when sexual intercourse without a condom was unbearable. With a condom, of course, she felt no pain, whether or not her partner ejaculated.

After some basic testing, the doctors decided to try and cut out her dietary limitations from her partner’s diet, and the results were put to the test the only way they could be. Indeed, she didn’t feel any more pain after sex once he stopped eating peanuts and tree nuts.

The case was presented in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“Although Type IV hypersensitivity reactions exceed Type I in most cases of allergic vaginitis, it is important to consider the numerous antigens within seminal fluid that may cause hypersensitivity,” the doctors said in their report. “This includes not only HSP but also food allergens, posing an increased risk for reactions in patients with a history of IgE-mediated food allergy in the context of allergen exposure from the seminal fluid of their sexual partners.”

They concluded, “Furthermore, targeted food elimination from the male partner’s diet may provide an effective means allowing for intercourse without subsequent hypersensitivity.”