If you're lactose intolerant, you've probably gotten pretty good at avoiding milk, cheese, and (sniff) ice cream. But now a naturopathic doctor says that your dairy allergy might impact your sex life, too. Is nothing sacred?
In a Q & A for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter, Maggie Ney, a doctor of naturopathic medicine and co-director of the Women’s Clinic at the Akasha Center in Santa Monica, California, says that latex (a common, major ingredient in condoms) is often treated with casein, a milk protein. “Casein is not toxic (so long as you don’t have a dairy allergy) but most people are surprised to learn that their condoms have dairy in them,” she says.
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Ney says that latex condoms may be a potential concern for people with a dairy allergy, since casein could be easily absorbed through your vaginal walls and flow into your blood stream.
But is it true?
Sherry Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn and women's health expert at California’s Providence Saint John's Health Center, says while it’s possible that lactose intolerant folks could have a reaction to latex, it’s not a known issue in the medical community. “I’ve never seen it,” she says. “It’s more likely that a woman has a reaction to latex itself.”
Latex allergies often mimic a yeast infection, says Ross. That can mean symptoms like vaginal swelling, redness, and tenderness up in there, she says. And it often takes some digging to diagnose an allergic reaction, Ross says. That makes it tough to say whether the casein in latex condoms is actually making you sick.
If you have a dairy allergy and are worried about using latex condoms, Ross recommends using polyurethane condoms instead (brands like SKYN, Trojan, and Lifestyles make them). However, it's pretty safe to say you won't be pooping yourself during sex because you forgot to take your Lactaid pills.
If you do experience a reaction after using condoms, talk to your doctor to get tested so you can figure out the source of the issue.