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When you are allergic to condoms

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by Mbonea, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Mbonea

    Mbonea JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 2, 2009
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    Cases of condom allergies are rare but this does not rule out the fact that some people actually get these reactions. However, the cause of these allergies is still unclear.

    Samuel Mugoya, a specialist with skin/STD department at Mulago Hospital says, "It is not clearly established if it is the fluids (lubrications) found inside the condoms that cause the allergies or people react to the latex material (rubber) that most condoms are made of but it is most likely that the allergies are a reaction to the latex." [​IMG]


    Still, this does not mean that everyone is at a risk of getting these allergic reactions. A person whose family has a history of allergic reactions to different things and has diseases like asthma is more likely to be allergic to the condoms, says Mugoya.

    In cases where the reaction is because of the latex, both partners are at risk and for cases where the fluid is the cause of the allergy, the person wearing the condom will be the only one affected.
    Mugoya says, "People who regularly use latex condoms are at a higher risk of getting a latex allergic reaction, because increased exposure to latex increases the chance of developing an allergy". One does not necessarily get an allergic reaction the first time they use the latex condom, you may react the second or third time you use it.

    An allergic reaction to latex condoms may develop within minutes or hours of exposure and the common signs and symptoms are; itchiness, dryness, blistering, sometimes redness as well as sensational burning of the private parts which when scratched will damage the skin. The symptoms become severe the more times you use them and in due course, the reaction may spread to other parts of the body. The allergies may cause shortness of breath, feeling faint and swelling of the skin shortly after contact with latex.

    Unfortunately, there is no specific skin test that can be carried out to establish if one is allergic or not, the only base is that of family history and it is not accurate. It is therefore rare that one can tell if they are allergic to the latex condom or not prior to its usage. Solutions to these reactions are very tricky. Mugoya advises that one should try as much as possible to get alternatives depending on why they are using them. People who use them for family planning could try other contraceptive methods. Others could abstain. Even with all the advantages and uses of condoms, one should keep in mind that if they react to them, increased exposure will increase their allergies.

    It is possible that one gets these signs and symptoms and the reaction is not necessarily as a result of condom allergies. That is why you need medical attention if you are having a skin reaction. A doctor should be able to give you more information based on visual examination of the area.

    Apart from using other alternatives to condoms that will serve the same purpose, you can experiment with different condom brands and see if you react to them.

    Unfortunately, according to officers in charge of condom distribution at Programme for Accessible health, Communication and Education (PACE) and the Ministry of Health, there are no non- latex condoms on the local market and Mugoya affirms that he has never heard or seen any non-latex condom.

    The non-latex condoms are available on the international market and though they are rather weak and may easily tear or slip off during intercourse, they are the best option for any one allergic to latex. Since the reaction may not necessarily be due to an allergy, make sure it isn't just irritation from too much friction.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  2. Mbonea

    Mbonea JF-Expert Member

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    Sep 2, 2009
    Joined: Jul 14, 2009
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    For those who r concerned
     
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