Yeast Infection or Latex Allergy?

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Yeast Infection or Latex Allergy?

If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced feeling an itching and burning sensation (not in a sexy way) at one point in time. While some women tend to self-diagnose this as a yeast infection and head out to the pharmacy for some meds, sometimes, it’s not always what it is.

If you and your partner practice safe sex, and you experience the aforementioned symptoms, you may have latex allergy. But how do you distinguish between yeast infection and latex allergy? Even doctors say it’s not as easy to figure out.

How do you know it’s actually allergy?

The most common signs that you could be allergic to latex are vaginal irritation, burning, and itching. A more severe form may lead to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition wherein one suffers from swelling, low blood pressure, and respiratory difficulties.

However, according to experts, if you are consistently experiencing a reaction following sex with latex condoms, (which usually happens within a day and lasting one to four days) and then the symptoms do not appear after sex without the latex condom, then an allergy should be suspected.  Sensitivity to certain foods is also common, and experts say that foods such as kiwi, chestnut, banana, and avocado, contain a protein similar to the one found in natural latex, and can provoke an allergic reaction.

What to do about it

No matter what, if you’re having a reaction down there, if the problem persists and your ob/gyn has ruled out other sources of irritation, see an allergist. The only way to truly rule out either a stubborn yeast infection or latex allergy is to test for it. You may also want to see a specialist in vulvovaginal disorders to get to the bottom of things.

While there are other options that you and your partner could use such as polyurethane condoms and those latex-free ones that come out in advertisements, it is still best to see and consult your doctor about safer options. Vaginal reaction to latex condoms usually go away when you stop using them. However, if symptoms flare up and you are in need of some quick relief, using a hydrocortisone down there may be able to help with the symptoms.

Important Note: While some doctors may prescribe hydrocortisone creams for relief, we all have different skin types and each could react differently to treatment. Consult your doctor to make sure that you’re getting the right treatment.

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