Semen allergy suspected in rare post-orgasm illness

Two studies by Dutch scientists have discovered that a strange flu-like illness that affects men after orgasm may be an allergy to their own semen. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) symptoms are feverishness, extreme fatigue, runny nose and burning eyes.

The first study, by Marcel Waldinger, a professor of psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues, analyzed 45 Dutch men who were diagnosed with POIS. The men did not feel ill when they masturbated without ejaculating, but as soon as the semen came from the testes, often within minutes, the symptoms appeared. Thirty-three of the men had a skin prick test using a diluted form of their own semen, and 29 of them (88%) had a positive skin reaction.

In the second study, two of the men volunteered to be treated using hyposensitisation therapy – exposing the body to small amounts of the allergen over a long period of time – and after one and three years respectively the men showed significant reductions in the severity of their symptoms.

Source: The Journal of Sexual Medicine

First published in January 2011

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