The vulva and vagina are the most delicate parts of a woman’s body. The skin around the intimate area is the most sensitive. Hence, when the wrong substances come in contact with the vagina, there can be an allergic reaction.
Dr. Garima Sawhney, a Pristyn Care gynecologist, explains that the vagina can absorb a lot of alien micro materials. She further adds that inserting any unwanted thing inside the vagina is not only unsafe but it can also be allergic in nature.
What are the things, vagina can be allergic to?
Apart from some common allergens, many women are still unaware that certain elements that come in contact with the vagina can lead to an allergic reaction. Some of them are discussed below.
This may sound bizarre but you can actually be allergic to the sperm. This rare allergy is known as seminal plasma hypersensitivity. When the vagina comes in contact with certain proteins in the seminal plasma it causes certain symptoms. These symptoms occur when the male partner ejaculates inside the vagina. The symptoms of an allergic reaction to sperm include severe itching as well as swelling. This might sound a little unrealistic but a person can even suffer from anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Just like any other diagnostic test for pollen or peanut allergy, the doctor tries to determine the specific protein the person is allergic to. The treatment for this kind of allergy includes desensitizing through injections.
Condoms are made of latex, which is a type of rubber tree fluid. Apart from the latex, it contains certain proteins that the vagina can be allergic to. Some of the signs include itching, rashes or hives in the localized area.
In cases the vagina is allergic to latex condoms, there are options of latex-free ones.
Spermicides are chemicals that destroy the sperms. The vagina can be allergic to the components of a spermicide and trigger allergic symptoms. The vagina can be allergic to not only the spermicide in condoms but also spermicides that needs to be inserted into the vagina in the form of foam or dissolvable film.
Scented feminine products
A common mistake that women make in regard to maintaining hygiene is rinsing the vaginal area clean with water or soap. Some women even use scented intimate sprays or vaginal wipes. These scented intimate hygiene products can cause vaginal infections by throwing off the balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina. (Also Read: Your Ultimate Guide to Vaginal Hygiene and Care)
Does this mean the vagina cannot be allergic to other products?
The list of above products doesn’t necessarily indicate the fact that the vagina cannot be other products. Some of the common allergens that cause vaginal allergies are mentioned below-
Not maintaining proper intimate hygiene
The following activities can lead to an allergy-
- Continuously wearing the same underwear
- Wearing a pad for a long period of time
- Trapped moisture near the vulva
- Not cleaning the intimate area properly
There are some products that are made with materials that can cause the vagina to irritate. These irritants can trigger a reaction in the vaginal or vulval area. Some of the irritants are-
- Bubble baths
- Fabric softeners
There are certain skin diseases that can cause allergies. Some of them are explained below-
- Psoriasis- In this type of skin disease, people experience scaly, itchy patches of skin.
- Eczema- Also known as atopic dermatitis, this is a type of rash that is closely associated with allergies. The rash has a scaly texture.
Are allergies and vaginal infections the same?
No, an allergic reaction and vaginal infection are not the same. A woman can confuse an allergy with a vaginal infection as they exhibit the same symptoms such as itching, redness, irritation and often vaginal discharge.
The difference between an allergy and vaginal infection lies in the duration. Dr. Sawhney says, “The symptoms of an allergy become evident almost as soon as the skin comes in contact with the allergen whereas symptoms of vaginal infection take a day or two to show.”
Moreover, an infection can become severe when left untreated for long while skin allergies can be treated easily with anti-allergens. In addition to this, the treatment can also include OTC creams post taking a cool bath.
Prevention of vaginal allergy
Some of the preventive tips that can reduce irritation and inflammation are mentioned below-
- Do not use soaps, lotions, bubble bath, and other products.
- Avoid scratching in the irritated area that can cause bleeding or an infection.
- Wipe from front to back after urination or a bowel movement.
- Avoid fragranced-hygiene sprays or dyes.
- Wear breathable white cotton underwear. (Also Read: Underwear Rules you can Swear By)
- Change from gym wear and damp clothes as soon as possible.