Introduction: Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a combination of local allergic symptoms and transient flu-like illness. In this study, the investigators propose five preliminary criteria to establish the diagnosis.
Aim: To describe the clinical details in 45 males being suspected of having POIS and to test an immunogenic hypothesis as the underlying mechanism of their presentations.
Methods: Forty-five males were studied according to standardized protocol, including neuropsychiatric and medical sexological evaluations; their complaints were categorized using their own words, and their self-perceived intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT). Skin-prick testing with autologous diluted semen in 33 men were also performed.
Main outcome measures: Clinical features of POIS including self-perceived IELTs and the results of skin-prick testing with autologous diluted seminal fluid.
Results: Of the 45 included men, 33 subjects consented with skin-prick testing. Of them, 29 (88%) men had a positive skin-prick test with their own (autologous) semen, and four had a negative test. 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. Of all subjects, 58% had an atopic constitution. Lifelong premature ejaculation, defined as self-perceived IELT < 1 minute, was reported in 25 (56%) of subjects.
Conclusions: 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, e.g., that POIS is caused by Type-1 and Type-IV allergy to the males' own semen, as soon it is triggered by ejaculation.
© 2011 International Society for Sexual Medicine.