Is it possible to be allergic to semen?
Like just about any other substance, it is possible to be allergic to
semen. An allergic reaction is the result of the immune system
overreacting to a foreign substance. The immune system recognizes
the presence of something that is not part of the body, and it rushes to
the location where the unfamiliar material is detected. The host cells
try to contain the substance, called an antigen. These cells are alerted
to the presence of intruders by recognizing unusual structures on the
surface of the foreign material, such as sugars or proteins. The host
cells send out proteins, called antibodies, which bind to the "non-self"
material, and the whole deal is engulfed inside yet another immune
system cell. However, antibody-antigen complexes may build up in
tissue, cause it to become inflamed, and bingo! You have an allergic
Thus, one's body may react aversely to semen, since the stuff is
virtually a soup of different substances. In addition to the sperm cells,
semen contains a lineup of "helpers" that boost the swimmers'
chances of fertilizing the egg, and any one of them could be the culprit.
Some of these substances include fructose, a kind of sugar that
provides the sperm with energy, clotting agents that increase the
chances that the sperm will stay in the vagina long enough to begin
their trek in search of an egg, and prostaglandins, which stimulate the
muscles surrounding the vagina to contract and draw semen upwards.
Since any one of these may be identified by the immune system as
being a foreign agent, one could easily have an allergy to semen.