Safe condom brands for the latex-allergic

There are a lot of fake and bogus commodities now being sold in the market. Therefore, it is important for an individual to be cautious when purchasing products. The very important thing one must check for in an item or product is whether or not it is approved by USFDA. If the product is USFDA approved, then it is safe to use.

Condoms are among the products that undergo USFDA safety checks and quality control. Thus, if they are FDA approved, they are safe to use. However, it is also important to read the product disclaimer and see if it fits one’s lifestyle. For latex allergic individuals, there are several non-latex condom brands that are very popular in the market and at the same time are safe to use. These non-latex condom brands include:

  • Trojan Ultra Ribbed Ecstasy. Most men picked this brand as their favorite non-latex condom. This condom is designed like a baseball bat, composed of two sets of ribs, and is lubricated in both sides. Most reported that the condom flexed well and the lubrication was long lasting.
  • LifeStyles SKYN. This is one of the most commonly used polyisoprene condom. This condom brand is available in standard and large sizes. Like any polyisoprene condom, it is latex free and is a suitable choice for people with allergy to latex.
  • Durex Avanti Bare. This brand is another polyisoprene condom that is super thin and soft. The materials used in this product are as soft as the skin that an individual using this might forget that he’s using one.
  • FC2. This female condom brand is the innovation of its predecessor FC1, which was manufactured using latex. To address the latex allergy concern, the manufacturers came up with a female condom that is made of synthetic latex. Thus, the birth of FC2. Furthermore, this condom also adapts better to its forerunner, giving the individual a more comfortable feel.
  • Sagami Original 0.02. This non-powdery, odorless condom is made of polyurethane, an alternative substance for latex. This condom is hailed as one of the thinnest condoms available in the market. Despite its fineness, it is three times stronger than most condoms, as proven by several bursting tests conducted. Furthermore, it has better heat transfer than latex condoms. In addition to those mentioned, it also has a smoother and highly transparent surface.

Those listed above are just some of the most common brands used and the safest as well. There are various brands of male and female condoms sold in the market. Men and women alike can choose other brands as long as they make sure that these are FDA approved. With the approval of FDA, it means that the quality and safety of the item were scrutinized.

Latex Allergy and the foods to avoid (cross-reaction)

A person found to have hypersensitivity to latex must also avoid several latex associated foods. These foods are found to contain enzymes that imitate latex proteins as they break down in one’s body. Thus, allergic or hypersensitivity reaction occurs. For instance, avocados are rich with chitinases, an enzyme that has been linked to latex-fruit allergy syndrome. When a person allergic to latex ingests avocado, he or she will develop symptoms the same as that of latex hypersensitivity. Thus, people having allergies to these foods are also at risk for developing hypersensitivity to latex, and vice versa.

These foods are classified according to their degree of involvement or prevalence in latex hypersensitivity. They are classified as to (a.) High prevalence, (b.) Moderate prevalence, and (c.) Low prevalence. It is also important for those at risk for latex hypersensitivity to take note of these foods as they may aggravate or cause allergic reactions. Listed below are the foods arranged according to their prevalence.

  • High Prevalence. Fruits such as Bananas, Avocadoes, and Kiwis show high prevalence of cross – reaction with latex hypersensitivity. Moreover, nuts, such as chestnuts, cashews, almonds, and pecans also belong to this cluster.
  • Moderate Prevalence. Fruits such as Apple, Papaya, Potato, Tomato, and Melons show moderate prevalence of cross – reaction with latex hypersensitivity. Moreover, vegetables such as carrots and celery also fall under this category.
  • Low Prevalence. Crops such as Zucchini, Wheat, Walnut, Sweet Pepper, Sunflower Seed, Strawberry, Soybean, Shellfish, Sage, Rye, Plum, Pineapple, Persimmon, Pear, Peanut, Peach, Passion, Oregano, Nectarine, Mango, Lychee, Hazelnut, Grape Fruit, Fig, Dill, Coconut, Citrus Fruits, Chick Pea, Cherry, Cayenne Pepper, Castor Bean, Buckwheat, and Apricot show low prevalence of cross – reaction with latex hypersensitivity.

There are foods listed above that do not really produce clinically essential reactions to latex-sensitive people. However, these foods are known to share some major or minor allergens with latex. These foods may predispose a latex sensitive individual to cross – reaction with latex hypersensitivity. Thus, a latex sensitive individual and his or her family, knowing this, can curtail the possibility of being exposed to predisposing allergens. Furthermore, they would know that there is a risk involved when these foods are included in one’s diet.

On the other hand, people having allergies to one of these foods must also inform his or her doctor about it, because he or she might also be allergic to latex. This is especially applicable for those who would undergo procedures that make use of gloves, catheters, and other medical paraphernalia that make use of latex.

An Overview on Latex Allergy

Latex is a milky substance found in Hevea brasiliensis trees. These milky juices are used to manufacture natural rubber. Rubber containing latex is used by various types of products in homes and even in hospitals. Some hospital paraphernalia that contain latex include gloves, catheters, and many more. On the other hand, products that are used at home include floorings, rugs, and others.

What is ‘latex allergy’? 
Latex allergy results as a response of the immune system to allergens. In this case, the immune system perceives some protein components of the latex as harmful substances. Thus, the immune system stimulates certain antibodies to combat the allergens. The next time latex exposure occurs, the antibodies tells the immune system to release histamine to counteract to the proteins. This results in the signs and symptoms of allergies such as rashes, hives, dyspnea, and others.

There are two types of allergic reaction to latex. One of these is caused by natural proteins, while the other one is caused by chemicals utilized during the processing of the natural latex. They are known as Type I allergy and Type IV allergy respectively. To discern each,

  • Type IV allergy manifests mild skin irritation and is a less severe and delayed reaction.
  • Type I allergy has a quicker onset and can be fatal.

Moreover, there are rubbers manufactured from petrochemicals whose end product is better known as synthetic rubber. Items made out of synthetic rubber are latex free and do not pose a threat to people with latex allergy.

How does the allergic reaction take place?
The hypersensitivity reaction may occur either through direct contact or through inhalation. Latex allergy through direct contact is the most common method of catching latex allergy. This Allergic reaction occurs when the skin of a person with latex allergies comes in contact with products that contain latex, such as latex gloves, condoms and balloons. On the other hand, hypersensitivity through the method of inhalation occurs when a person with latex allergy breathes in latex molecules when they become airborne. The quantity of latex airborne molecules from latex products is dependent on the brand and its manufacturer.

Who are at risk for latex allergy?
People frequently exposed to latex are at risk for developing latex allergies. For instance, people with spina bifida are at high risk for developing latex allergies. These people are exposed to latex products ever since the day they were born. People who frequently undergo medical procedures or multiple surgeries are repeatedly exposed to latex products. Thus, may put them at risk. Another group of people frequently exposed to latex products are health care personnel. Moreover, rubber industry or factory workers are also at risk and exposed to latex more often. Lastly, people with allergies to foodstuffs can also be at risk for latex allergies.

Genital Latex Allergy Symptoms

Latex is a substance commonly used in elastic products. One of these products include the commonly used contraceptive, condom. Symptoms experienced from latex allergies are usually mild. However, when a person allergic to latex is repeatedly exposed, symptoms may progress and lead to serious reactions that can at times become fatal. Therefore, it is important for one to see a physician for alternative methods of contraception.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of Genital Latex Allergy can help an individual identify the presence of an allergic reaction. Thus, he or she can seek medical treatment and seek the doctor’s help in finding alternative methods. Below are the most common symptoms present during a Genital Latex Allergy:

  • Burning Sensation. This symptom may be experienced on the man’s penis or inside the woman’s vagina. Furthermore, it can also be felt on the skin of any area where the condom has been in contact with.
  • Rashes. This symptom usually appears within 8 hours, post latex exposure. The severity of this may vary from mild to moderate. Furthermore, it may itch or burn, and may be pink or red in color. When scratched, the skin may also appear flaky.
  • Itching. This is the first and a common symptom of many allergies. However, with latex condom allergy this symptom may be bothersome and awkward because it occurs in the genital area. The itching may vary from mild to severe. Females may feel the itching sensation around the vagina, labia and vulva, or may even extend to the inside of the vagina. On the other hand, males experience itching around the penis’ shaft and in the groin area at the base of the penis.
  • Blisters. People with genital latex allergy, whose exposure to latex condoms are prolonged, may eventually develop blisters. These blisters form around the areas repeatedly exposed to latex condoms. These blisters result from the immune system’s response to defend itself against the allergen. Moreover, these blisters should not be popped because it contains histamine. Doing so may spread histamine to other areas of the body resulting to more blisters.
  • Foul-smelling discharge. In some cases, a person with genital latex allergy may have strong and foul-smelling discharges after sex or medical examination.
  • Anaphylaxis. This symptom occurs in severe cases of genital latex allergy. More importantly, it is vital for one with genital latex allergy to know the early signs of anaphylaxis as this may be fatal. The signs include dyspnea or labored breathing, swelling of the oral cavity, tachycardia, and/or chest pain. If these are seen in a person with genital latex allergy, it is important to immediately seek medical treatment.

Knowing the different signs and symptoms of genital latex allergy can help an individual identify the presence of the allergy. Furthermore, knowing that these signs and symptoms are caused by genital latex allergies, would spare an individual from recurrent attacks. More importantly, the person can be spared from the fatal symptoms of the allergic reaction.

Condoms for Latex Allergy

Some condom brands are made of rubber that contain the substance latex. Latex may pose no detriment unless the one using it is sensitive to the substance latex. People having allergies to latex may feel unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms when exposed to this substance. With the obnoxious manifestations sensed, a couple may have difficulty in attaining pleasure. Because of the dilemma faced by condom enthusiasts, the condom industry came across alternative substances in lieu of latex. Thus, the birth of various non-latex condoms. However, among the various types available, there are three United Sates Food and Drug Authority (USFDA) approved condoms that are most preferred by consumers. These are (a.) Polyurethane condoms, (b.) Polyisoprene condoms, and (c.) Female condoms (FC2).

Polyurethane Condoms
Polyurethane condoms are made from a distinctive type of plastic material. Like latex condoms, they are not only capable of preventing pregnancy, but they also reduce the risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), like HIV. Furthermore, these condoms are odorless and tend to have a longer shelf life compared to latex condoms. In addition, this type of condom transfers heat very well between the condom and the skin, making it unnoticeable.

This type of condom was also designed to be thinner and less elastic compared to latex ones. However, these condoms are not as fitting as latex condoms. Therefore, it is important for the couple to be cautious because the condom might slip in extreme movements. Moreover, it is highly recommended that this type of condom be used with silicone-based or water-based lubricant.

Polyisoprene Condoms
Polyisoprene condoms gained approval from the United Sates Food and Drug Authority (USFDA) in 2008. These products make use of synthetic latex materials that are as equally strong as natural latex. These products would not cause allergic reactions because they do not contain the protein of natural latex that triggers a hypersensitivity reaction.