In this day and age, sexual health is not something to be taken for granted. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) are, unfortunately, a reality all sexually active adults need to be aware of and take precautions against. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the incidence rate of new STI’s in the United States to be around 20 million cases annually. About 50% of those cases are occurring in individuals ages 15-24, with the other half occurring in those 25 years and older. While these figures are staggering, using condoms can drastically reduce one’s risk of transmitting such an infection. So what happens when doing the smart thing and using protection causes penis pain and discomfort? Unfortunately, penis allergies are a reality, so some men may need to find alternative methods of protection as part of their penis health care arsenal.
Condom Allergies: Are they for real?
While it may sound like a lame excuse to not use protection, some men – and women too – are legitimately allergic to latex. Lubricants, spermicides and diaphragms can also trigger allergic reactions in some unlucky individuals. A negative reaction to these products may be instantaneous in highly sensitive individuals, or they may appear a few hours later, leaving the unfortunate victim wondering what may have happened to their manhood.
What Are the Symptoms?
An allergic reaction on the genitals is about as unpleasant as it sounds. Some of the possible symptoms include:
- Breaking out in a rash in the genital area
- Hives/red blotches
- Itchy skin
- Burning sensation on any skin touched by the condom
- Skin is overly sensitive and may be painful to the touch
- Unexplained respiratory symptoms such as: coughing, wheezing, sneezing
- Sudden runny nose or nasal discharge
- Feelings of light-headedness
- Anaphylactic shock – this only occurs in cases of extreme latex sensitivity
In addition, repeated exposure may trigger the occurrence of blisters, as the body’s immune system tries to fight off the latex, and even men who have not previously had issues may develop a penis allergy over time.
A condom allergy may also lead to a urinary tract infection in some men. Symptoms of a UTI include:
- Burning during urination
- Foul smelling urine
- Blood in urine
What to do if a latex allergy is suspected
Men who suspect they have a latex allergy should consult an allergist for testing to ensure the skin is reacting to the latex and not a different source. Since having unprotected sex drastically increases the risk of contracting an STI or resulting in an unplanned pregnancy, going au natural is not the best option. Men should seek out non-latex condoms in order to protect themselves – and their partners – from unwanted sexual side effects.
Two types of non-latex condoms exist as options for those allergic to latex. Synthetic condoms, made with polyurethane, are deemed to be as safe as latex condoms by the CDC. Lambskin condoms, also known as natural membrane condoms, are made from lamb cecum and do not contain latex. Natural membrane condoms are useful in preventing pregnancy, but it is important to note that the CDC and FDA has deemed them to be less effective in preventing the transmission of STI’s including HIV/AIDS.
Caring for a Latex Allergy
If the allergic reaction is severe, is causing difficulty breathing, or is extremely painful, medical attention should be sought immediately. Anaphylactic shock can result in death if not treated immediately. Milder allergic reactions, though uncomfortable and unpleasant, should clear up on their own without any medical intervention. Washing the affected area with gentle soap and water is effective in removing the allergen and preventing prolonged exposure, which will worsen the reaction. Applying a penis health creme containing vitamins and minerals (most professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can also help soothe red, irritated skin while revitalizing the penis. Select one that contains vitamin E to help hydrate and repair itchy skin and quickly provide some much needed relief to the area.
For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: http://www.penishealth101.com. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men’s health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.