Condom allergy: causes in women and men

The study of contraception sheath components, potentially leading to allergic reactions, showed that the most often cause of the enhanced immune response is latex. Allergy to latex condoms results from the origin of this material.

It is produced from the natural plant material and due to this it may potentially be an  allergen. It contains juice of an exotic Brazilian tree Hevea. In our everyday life, we often have a contact with the natural component of latex as it is used for producing gloves, toys or balloons. It is important that latex allergy is often accompanied by intolerance to some foods such as apples and various tropical fruits (figs, bananas, avocado).

As well as latex, condom lubricant may also be responsible for the allergy. It contains aromatic and sometimes flavor components that are not essential in the condoms.

Manifestation of condom allergy

Allergy may occur in men and women. Pathological manifestation is usually local, but in severe cases it may be of a general character. Clinically severe presentation may occur in partners who are not aware whether they have condom allergy or ignore its first signs and continue to use the condoms.


  • Irritation (at the early phase of allergic reaction);
  • Subjective sensations of intense itching and burning in the area of contact with the allergen;
  • Urticaria (rash on the skin);
  • Running nose (as a general symptom in neglected cases);
  • Watery eyes;
  • Breathing disorders (shortness of breath and even suffocation in very rare cases);
  • Edema syndrome;
  • Inflammatory response in the genitals (swelling and redness);
  • Anaphylactic shock (very rare).

Clinical presentation of condom allergy in men and women appears in several days after the contact with the allergen, so the partners can not immediately identify the problem.

Also unaware women often confuse inflammatory and sexually transmitted diseases. An important factor confirming the allergy is that reaction occurs shortly after the first or second contact with the initiating agent.

Prevention of condom allergy

latex allergy

If allergic reaction is caused by the components of the condom lubricant, just choose the contraceptives that do not contain initiating agents. Use contraceptives with water-based or oil-based lubricant. It is important however that some types of a natural lubricant enhance condom permeability.

Check other methods of contraception, if you are allergic to latex condoms. Today non-latex condoms are available and they do not cause allergic reactions, but the production of such condoms is not prevalent, so it is not always easy to buy them. Additionally, their efficiency, especially in protecting against sexually transmitted diseases, is much lower.

Treatment of condom allergy in women and men:

  • Avoid the contact with the allergen. The longer you use the condoms having the symptoms of allergic reaction, the more severe is the pathology.
  • After the contact, wash your genitals with soap and water to remove any microparticles of the allergen.
  • Use desensitizing (antihistamine) ointments to cure condom allergy. Apply the medicine on the affected area to relieve subjective sensations and edema. Drugs are used for more severe cases.
  • Anaphylactic shock is an urgent condition and requires immediate medical emergency call and emergency management. It is rarely associated with the condom allergy but still it can not be excluded. The signs of  anaphylactic shock are a sudden fall in blood pressure, rapid heart, difficult breathing and impairment of consciousness.

Primary treatment of condom allergy, if it is caused by latex, is the change of contraceptive method. Consult your doctor and choose the most suitable method depending on your body’s individual characteristics.