Weird Allergies: Allergy to Sex and Sun

An allergy is the unusual sensitivity to a normally harmless substance that provokes a strong reaction from a person’s immune system. The substance that causes reaction is called an allergen, which could be a protein, a chemical, a liquid, a pollen, etc. The allergen is recognized by our immune system as “potentially dangerous” so it would react accordingly. However, the response is not necessarily good to our body as allergic reaction gives noticeable symptoms which include rashes, nausea, swelling, and anaphylaxis, a condition which can cause death if not treated immediately.

First exposure to an allergen will not cause any symptom but the body is said to be sensitized to that allergen. Subsequent exposure to the allergen causes allergic reaction and the symptoms will show up.

Perhaps, you know examples of allergies and you know people who have them. Common allergies that you may have heard of include strawberry allergy, birch allergy, egg allergy, chicken allergy, hay allergy, seafood allergy, peanut allergy, mold allergy, and the like. But have you heard of sex allergy, sun allergy, sweat allergy, and other weird allergies that are only experienced by a very small portion of our population?

Continue reading to learn some of the world’s weirdest allergies. Find out their causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Sex Allergy

Sperm & egg (Wikimedia image)Sex is supposed to be enjoyable but not to a woman who is allergic to her partner’s semen. The semen is a thick white fluid containing sperm released during ejaculation. It contains proteins (allergens) that trigger allergic reaction to the woman’s body. Symptoms include burning sensation, redness, and swelling to any area that has been in contact with semen. Another symptom is anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening symptom marked by breathing difficulty and drop in blood pressure. All these symptoms occur soon after sex.

Semen allergy is very rare. There are instances that it is misdiagnosed as allergy to condom (latex), lubricants, spermicides, or as a symptom of sexually transmitted disease. However, symptoms disappear after condom use but return after unprotected sex. Semen allergy can be confirmed through various allergy tests like skin test.

Semen allergy is not the end for a healthy sexual life to a woman with the condition since there is treatment. The woman should be desensitized to his partner’s semen through frequent local injection of the allergenic sperm and weekly sexual intercourse. If treatment is not successful and the woman wants to be pregnant, artificial insemination can be performed.
Sun Allergy

Sunlight (Wikimedia Image)The sun is the primary source of energy in all of living things. It powers the photosynthesis in plants, the water cycle, and other biological phenomena. Even Vitamin D metabolism needs the sun’s energy to take place. With all these important role of the sun, man has no reason in not appreciating it. But would you appreciate the sun if it gives you a disease like sun allergy?

Also known as solar urticaria, sun allergy gives stinging, itchy, red and swollen rash soon after being exposed to the sun. The symptoms occur in any part of the body exposed to sunlight but the face and hands are slightly affected because they are desensitized with constant exposure to the sun.

The exact cause of solar urticaria is still unknown but it is thought that it may be due to the sun reacting with a chemical allergen in the body, triggering the allergic reaction responsible to the symptoms.

The diagnostic test for solar urticaria involves shining light of varying wavelengths directly to the skin. The appearance of rash or swelling confirms allergy to the sun’s light.

Antihistamines are used to control the symptoms. Long term treatment involves the desensitization of the skin against sunlight through phototherapy. In instances of highly sensitive immune system, immunosuppressant drugs are used.

Next: Sweat and Exercise Allergy