Allergy to vaginal spermicides (sperm-killing creams, foams or jellies) isn't common, but it happens nevertheless. The four most sensitizing chemicals in these products are phenyl-mercuric acetate, oxyquinoline sulphate, quinine hydrochloride and hexylresorcinol.
If a woman's chosen spermicide is making her itch or giving her other discomfort, she should look for an alternative with different ingredients. Before using a brand or type of spermicide for the first time, she can do a patch test on her arm to determine her tolerance.
As with condoms, what's good for the goose may be bad for the gander: a woman's partner is also apt to react to contact with vaginal spermicides, even if she doesn't.
Feminine hygiene sprays
Aside from the fact that these sprays do little or nothing for vaginal hygiene, they may irritate and produce a burning sensation if squirted too close to the skin or vulva. Applied from a proper distance, the freon propellant presumably evaporates before it reaches its destination. Even then, the perfumes can cause trouble. And a woman's partner may develop a rash or burning sensation on his penis or scrotum if they have sex together soon after the spray is applied. So why bother with sprays at all?
Copper I.U.D.s
Copper-containing intrauterine birth control devices sometimes induce stubborn allergic reactions in women who use them. The classic symptoms are a recurrent rash on and around the vulva, lower abdomen and inner thighs. Less frequently, it may spread to the chest and lower back. Ointments, antihistamines and cortisone treatments provide only temporary relief. The only real cure is to have the I.U.D. removed and choose an alternative birth control method.



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