Semen Laced With Drugs Sends Woman Into Anaphylactic Shock in First Medical Case of Its Kind

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Doctors have detailed how a woman suffered an anaphylactic shock after ingesting semen. Getty Images

A woman in Spain suffered anaphylactic shock after she ingested the semen of her partner, who had taken a drug she was allergic to, in what doctors believe is a unique case.

A case study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports details how the unnamed woman arrived at the Hospital General Universitari d'Alacant in Alicante, Spain, covered in hives, vomiting and suffering from shortness of breath, ScienceAlert reported.

The 31-year-old told doctors her partner had ejaculated in her mouth during sex before the reaction occurred. While it is rare but possible to have an allergy to semen, the woman had no past history of such a response.

After checking off anything the woman herself had taken or come into contact with as a potential cause, it emerged her 32-year-old partner had taken amoxicillin-clavulanic acid.

The man had been prescribed ibuprofen and the antibiotic Augmentin for an ear infection. She had taken the latter drug four hours before having sex.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid is a form of antibiotic. It is generally used to treat bacterial infections such as those affecting the skin, ears, lungs, sinus or urinary tract. While amoxicillin kills the bacteria, clavulanic acid in turn stops the bacteria from destroying the antibiotic.

Doctors believe the woman was affected after the drug transferred into the man's semen. They advised those worried about experiencing a similar reaction to medications to use a condom during sex.

"To our knowledge, this is the first case reported of a suspicion of amoxicillin-induced anaphylaxis in a woman after a sexual contact with a man who was taking the drug," the authors wrote.

Few studies have investigated whether amoxicillin can be transferred from a person's digestive system into their semen at a level where it is still active, the team said. Similarly, there are few known cases of reactions caused by drugs ending up in semen.

"But we have found some concern in sensitive patients about the possibility of transference of allergens via sexual intercourse," they wrote.

The authors added: "As clinicians, we consider that it is important to be aware of the existence of this possibility both in the diagnosis and in the prevention of anaphylactic reactions."

According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, a sperm allergy is caused by sensitivity to the proteins inside the fluid. The condition is most common among women.

The allergy can trigger a reaction in any area that comes into contact with semen. For instance, it can trigger burning in the vaginal area, as well as redness, swelling, itching and pain. However, these symptoms can spread to the whole body causing hives and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.