What is Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome?

Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a disease in which men experience chronic physical and cognitive symptoms immediately after ejaculation in the absence of a local genital reaction. In this rare condition, the patient develops flu-like symptoms after ejaculation which last for up to a week. The condition resulting in postorgasmic illness syndrome is not very well understood. The prevalence of postorgasmic illness syndrome is also not clearly known. Knowing about postorgasmic illness syndrome, causes, symptoms, treatment and prognosis can help in dealing with this condition better.

What is Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome?

What are the Symptoms of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome?

The symptoms of postorgasmic illness syndrome vary but the common ones are fever, sweating, fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, poor concentration, mood swings, irritability, poor memory and incoherent speech. Symptoms can develop within seconds, minutes, or hours post ejaculation and can last for 2 to 7 days before fading away on their own.

Some people suffering from postorgasmic illness syndrome may also experience lifelong premature ejaculation. The postorgasmic illness syndrome symptoms may be generalized, or can "cluster" in certain regions of the body, i.e. symptoms only affect their eyes, nose, head, throat, or muscles in individual men.

What are the Causes of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome?

The exact cause of postorgasmic illness syndrome is still not clear. Some researchers suspect that men with postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) are allergic to their own semen which leads to a hypersensitivity reaction, i.e. an abnormal immune response. Whether genetic factors contribute to this condition is not yet known.

How is Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of postorgasmic illness syndrome is based on the presence of one or more symptoms, which develop within seconds or a short span after each or most ejaculations. They last for around 2 to 7 days before resolving on their own. Reporting of clusters and early evaluation of symptoms postorgasmic illness syndrome also helps in timely diagnosis. A skin prick test may be conducted to diagnose postorgasmic illness syndrome. This test should be carried out under the supervision of a doctor, as it can trigger postorgasmic illness syndrome symptoms which can cause severe reactions and need to be treated immediately in a hospital. In another test, the patient is asked to stop masturbating, or having intercourse, right before the first genital sensations of a forthcoming ejaculation. In most cases, men notice improvement in the symptoms of postorgasmic illness syndrome with these changes.

How is Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome Treated?

Limited treatments of postorgasmic illness syndrome sometimes make it difficult to manage this condition. Some men experiencing symptoms of postorgasmic illness syndrome have been treated with prescription medicines like antihistamines, SSRIs and benzodiazepines.

A study was conducted wherein hyposensitization therapy was used to successfully treat 2 men with postorgasmic illness syndrome. This type of therapy aims at decreasing the immune response to an allergen through exposure. The men were injected every two weeks with greater concentrations of their own semen. Although the symptoms could not be prevented completely by this therapy, both men did report a gradual improvement of symptoms through the treatment period. However, hyposensitization therapy may not prove useful as a treatment of postorgasmic illness syndrome for all men, as some cases may not be related to semen allergy.

What is the Prognosis of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome?

Although not a life-threatening condition, postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) does impact the quality of life for affected men and their partners significantly. Some treatments for postorgasmic illness syndrome have proven helpful in improving the symptoms. The natural history and causes of postorgasmic illness syndrome and also whether its symptoms change over time or not are not clearly known as this condition has hardly been reported. Only a few cases of postorgasmic illness syndrome or POIS have been recorded in medical journals. However, there is an increasing number of self-reported cases in social networking websites and internet forums. So, it is possible that postorgasmic illness syndrome is possibly under-recognized and under-diagnosed.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 9, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest