Allergies are, without doubt, a fairly common occurrence. And while some people may experience the extremely common pollen and dust allergies, others may have bizarre allergic reactions to sunlight or metal. But did you know that it was possible to be allergic to semen? Although rare, some men experience strange flu-like symptoms post ejaculation while masturbating or during sex. Such an allergy goes by the name postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). This condition is believed to be an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system starts attacking healthy cells in your body, causing severe reactions. Let’s find out everything else there is to know about this rare condition.
Symptoms Of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome
POIS tends to be accompanied by varying symptoms, which are either generalized or occur in clusters like the following:1
- General cluster, which includes sensitivity to light, palpitations, concentration difficulties, aversion to noise, and mood swings
- Flu-like cluster, which is the most common and comprises shivering, chills, and perspiration
- Head cluster, which includes headaches, head heaviness, and a foggy feeling in the head
- Eye cluster, which comprises blurred vision as well as redness, burning, and itchiness in the eyes followed by an involuntary flow of tears
- Nose cluster, which includes sneezing and a runny nose
- Throat cluster, which comprises a bad taste in the mouth followed by dryness, a sore throat, cough, and a hoarse voice
- Muscle cluster, which includes stiff and painful muscles, weakness, and heaviness in the legs
Symptoms may begin to show within seconds or hours after ejaculation. And once they begin, it usually takes 2–7 days to regain normal health.
Types Of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome
POIS is a chronic disorder and is usually of two types:
- Primary POIS: When symptoms begin to show from the very initial ejaculations during puberty or adolescence, it is classified as primary POIS.
- Secondary POIS: Some men develop an allergy to their own semen much later in life. These men are said to suffer from secondary POIS.2
Cause Of Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome
The exact cause of POIS is unknown but research suggests that the condition might be the result of specific cytokines – proteins responsible for cell signals – that are released by an autoimmune reaction to semen.3 The substance responsible for triggering the autoimmune reaction is said to be directly bound to the semen itself.
Treatment Options For Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome
After a clear diagnosis, several treatment options need to be tried before one can help manage the condition. This is simply because the symptoms and their duration of occurrence vary from patient to patient. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually administered for relief. Sometimes, a procedure called hyposensitization may be tried. This procedure involves developing tolerance to semen by injecting small, increasing doses to the patient.4 Hyposensitization sessions need to be supervised and carried out at fixed intervals after consultation with a qualified health practitioner. Patients who undergo the procedure may report a significant reduction in the occurrence of the symptoms over time.