In a bizarre case reported in a medical journal this week, a woman ended up at death's door after she had a massive allergic reaction following a sexual encounter.
The 31-year-old presented at an emergency room in Spain with hives all over her body and experiencing shortness of breath. Doctors treating her diagnosed her with anaphylaxis, even though she had no signs of insect bites, usual foods in her system or sun exposure.
Anaphylactic shock occurs when a patient has an extreme allergic reaction. Doctors established that the patient's only allergy was to the drug penicillin but she hadn't taken any medication.
However, it turned out that she had engaged in oral sex hours beforehand with a man who had been takingamoxicillin-clavulanic acid treatment, which contains penicillin.
The male (31) had been taking the drug for an ear infection and had taken a dose four hours before sex. Doctors concluded that the drug transferred to the woman via 'oral drug transfer' from his semen.
It is the first case of its kind ever recorded.
The BMJ case report by authors fromtheHospital General Universitari dAlacant inAlicantereads:"An uncommon cause of anaphylaxis in women is seminal plasma allergy"
"Coital allergic reactions can be induced in allergic women by the transfer of allergens (drugs or food) present at low concentrations in the seminal plasma of their partners."
To their knowledge, it is the first reported case of 'amoxicillin-induced anaphylaxis in a woman after sexual contact with a man who was taking the drug'.
The team has urged anyone with a penicillin allergy to be aware of the risk of transfer of allergens through semen.