Nothing ruins a good orgasm like really horrible itching. Although most genital itching has a pretty obvious cause – a sexually transmitted disease, razor burn, a yeast infection, or even chafing on dry skin – sometimes there's a stealthier culprit. What if the very products you're using to keep you safe from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases are the ones that are giving you the symptoms that are driving you crazy? It could be that you have a latex allergy.
WHAT IS A LATEX ALLERGY?
A latex allergy is an allergy like any other, caused by your immune system overreacting to a foreign substance. In substance, a latex allergy is no different than being allergic to ragweed, and substantially less horrible than being allergic to chocolate. Interestingly, some people's latex allergies may not actually be to latex. Some scientists think that many people are actually allergic to other plant proteins or processing contaminates found in latex products, which may explain why some people with latex allergies react to certain latex items but not others. One of the most common symptoms of latex allergy is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a type of rash that occurs on the part of the body that is touching, i.e. contacting, the latex. Swelling and itching after contact with gloves, condoms, or other latex products are the usual signs of latex allergy and should be taken seriously. Some scientists believe that latex allergies can become more severe over time, and so eliminating latex from your life as much as possible may help you to avoid the possibility of a serious reaction from an accidental contact later in life. Anaphylactic shock from contact with latex may not be common, but it's far from rare. This type of severe full-body allergic reaction can be life threatening. The people who are most likely to suffer from latex allergies are those who are exposed to latex on a regular basis. Nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals seem to have a higher than average incidence of latex allergy, as do individuals with medical conditions that require them to have frequent medical or dental examinations. Simply using condoms has not been shown to put individuals at risk of latex allergy, although condoms can cause reactions and symptoms in people who are already allergic.
What To Look For In A Sex Toy
ALLERGIES, CONTRACEPTION, AND HEALTH CARE
Two common forms of contraception, diaphragms and condoms, can both prove problematic for individuals with latex allergies. Fortunately, most other contraceptive options do not contain latex, and latex-free condoms are available for those who prefer non-prescription forms of contraception. If you are allergic to latex, however, it is important to inform your doctor, particularly before undergoing any invasive medical procedure. Medical professional will not only need to make certain to use latex-free gloves during any exam; many other pieces of medical equipment may contain latex and will also need to be avoided.
KEEPING SEX SAFE
It's a little scary when you can't use latex gloves, condoms, or dental dams to keep your sexual interactions safe, but there are other good options. Polyurethane condoms, male and female, are a good latex alternative and are probably almost as effective in preventing pregnancy and STDs – although they are somewhat more likely to break. Lambskin condoms, on the other hand, should not be used to protect against STDs. They are effective against pregnancy, but are not an acceptable method for disease protection. As for gloves, both nitrile and vinyl gloves should be safe for people with latex allergies, and, as a bonus, nitrile gloves are available in several pretty colors. For oral sex, dental dams can be made from polyurethane condoms as easily as they can from latex condoms, and pre-made polyurethane dams are also available on the Internet.
WHAT ABOUT SEX TOYS?
Individuals who have latex allergies may experience reactions to certain types of sex toys that contain latex, either as their primary ingredient or an additive. Toys that are made in molds that are also used to make latex models may also lead to problems. Soft rubber toys are the ones most likely to contain latex, so it's probably best to avoid jelly dildos and other similar toys. Fortunately, there are many other toy options out there, and the number continues to grow. If you're allergic to latex, look for toys made out of glass, silicone, metal, or other non-irritating materials. You can also cover your toys with polyurethane condoms and handle them with nitrile or vinyl gloves, but finding toys that don't irritate your skin is probably much easier in the long run.
WRAPPING IT UP
In conclusion, although latex allergies can make your sex life a little more complicated, they don't have to make it any less fun. There are alternatives for most, if not all, latex containing products that you might wish to use in the course of your nighttime entertainment, and exploring all the available options can lead to some very enjoyable evenings indeed.
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