Fatal Attraction: When Your Spouse Makes You Sick

We promise to stick with them "in sickness and in health," so what do you do when your spouse is the one making you ill?

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Married couples share everything - beds, bills, children, even the same moods. That intimacy is one of the reasons we shack up in the first place, but it can also take a very real toll on your health. We've put together a list of the secret (and not-so-secret) ways your spouse could be making you sick and what you can do about it. After all, sharing is supposed to be caring.

The Secret Sex Allergy

In one of nature's cruelest twists, some women are physically allergic to their husband's semen. One in 40,000 women suffers from a seminal protein allergy, which means that a protein inside their spouse's semen stimulates an anaphylactic reaction when it meets uterine immune cells. Manifesting in swelling, itching, burning, and excruciating pain, this allergy often goes undiagnosed because women, and their gynecologists, incorrectly attribute it to a yeast infection or sexually transmitted disease.

What you can do

Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following during sex:

  • Itching
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Burning
  • A rash
  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing

Find a good allergist to help you tackle the problem.

Use a condom to keep yourself from being exposed to the allergens in your husband's semen.

Explore your fertility options if and when you want to become pregnant. Allergists can help you undergo a slow desensitization program to help your body not react to your partner's sperm. Sperm can also be washed before intrauterine insemination. Or, in extreme cases, in vitro fertilization skirts the problem altogether by introducing the sperm to the egg outside of your body.