Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) - local allergic symptoms and transient flu-like illness in men

Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a combination of local allergic symptoms and transient flu-like illness. This post-ejaculatory complex of local and/or systemic symptoms occurs within seconds, minutes, or hours post-masturbation, coitus, or spontaneous ejaculation. Recent data may suggest an autoimmunogenic/allergic underlying mechanism.

Baseline characteristics of the study group

This Dutch study included 45 males suspected of having POIS:

- 58% of them had an atopic constitution
- 56% had a lifelong premature ejaculation, defined as self-perceived intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT) of less than 1 minute.

Clinical features

In 87% of men, POIS symptoms started within 30 minutes after ejaculation.

Complaints of POIS were categorized in seven clusters of symptoms, e.g., general, flu-like, head, eyes, nose, throat, and muscles.

Local allergic reactions of eyes and nose were reported in 44% and 33% of subjects, a flu-like syndrome in 78% of subjects, exhaustion and concentration difficulties in 80% and 87% of subjects.

Skin prick tests

Of the 45 included men, 33 subjects consented to skin-prick testing with autologous diluted semen. 88% of the 33 men had a positive skin-prick test with their own (autologous) semen.

Diagnosis and conclusion

The combination of allergic and systemic flu-like reactions post-ejaculation together with a positive skin-prick test in the majority of males underscores the hypothesis of an "immunogenic" etiology of POIS. POIS could be caused by Type-1 and/or Type-IV allergy to the males' own semen, as soon it is triggered by ejaculation.


Two males with POIS were successfully treated by hyposensitization with autologous semen, which supports an immunogenic/allergic etiology and underscores the clinical implication for immunological sexual medicine.


Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) in 45 Dutch Caucasian Males: Clinical Characteristics and Evidence for an Immunogenic Pathogenesis (Part 1). Waldinger MD, Meinardi MM, Zwinderman AH, Schweitzer DH. J Sex Med. 2011 Jan 17. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02166.x. [Epub ahead of print].

Hyposensitization Therapy with Autologous Semen in Two Dutch Caucasian Males: Beneficial Effects in Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS; Part 2). Waldinger MD, Meinardi MM, Schweitzer DH. J Sex Med. 2011 Jan 17. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02167.x. [Epub ahead of print].

Immunologic disorders of the female and male reproductive tract. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, Volume 108, Issue 6 , Pages 390-395, June 2012.

Semen Allergy Suspected in Rare Post-Orgasm Illness. Reuters.

Some poor men are apparently allergic to their own semen. LA Times.

Men, do you suffer from flu symptoms after sex? You could be allergic to your own semen. Daily Mail.

Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS) in a Chinese Man: No Proof for IgE-Mediated Allergy to Semen

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