Semen Allergy Blamed For Post-Orgasm Sickness

A mystery illness striking down men after sex could be occurring because they are allergic to their own semen, say scientists.

Dutch officials say a mysterious syndrome in which men come down with a flu-like illness after an orgasm may be caused by an allergy to semen. Photo: Axehd/Flickr

There’s a mysterious phenomenon in which some men, immediately after having an orgasm, come down with a flu-like illness. Now Dutch scientists are saying these men may be allergic to their own semen.

The condition is known as post-orgasmic illness sydrome (POIS). Though it’s been on scientists’ radars for nearly 9 years, it’s not commonly known by patients or doctors.

Many men who experience the post-ejaculate sickness don’t come forward and tell their doctor about it out of embarassment, experts suspect.

Marcel Waldinger, a professor of sexual psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and his team analyzed 45 Dutch men who had been diagnosed with POIS.

Thirty-three of them agreed to undergo a standard skin-prick allergy test using a diluted form of their own semen. Of those, 29, or 88 percent, had a positive skin reaction indicating an auto-immune response, or allergic reaction.

“These results are a very important breakthrough in the research of this syndrome,” said Dr. Waldinger. He said the findings “contradict the idea that the complaints have a psychological cause” and show that an auto-allergic reaction to semen is the most likely cause.

Waldinger said while the syndrome is probably rare, it is likely that many men who suffer with it do not know it is a recognized condition and so do not come forward to doctors.

Symptoms of POIS include fever, runny nose, extreme fatigue and burning eyes. They come on straight after climax and can last up to a week, reported The Sun.

“They didn’t feel ill when they masturbated without ejaculating, but as soon as the semen came from the testes . . . after that they became ill, sometimes within just a few minutes,” Waldinger said.

In a second study, Waldinger’s team decided to try treating two of the volunteers with hyposensitisation therapy — a well-known technique for treating allergies, also called allergen immunotherapy, which repeatedly exposes the body to small but gradually increasing amounts of the allergen over several years.

In the POIS therapy, the men were given skin injections containing their own semen, at first in an extremely dilute form, and then in gradually less diluted forms. The study’s results showed that after one and three years respectively, the men showed a significant reduction in their POIS symptoms.

“It’s a very slow process. It is used for all sorts of allergies and can sometimes take up to 5 years,” Waldinger added. In the light of the first results, his team have now started several more POIS patients on hyposensitisation therapy.  [via Huff Post and The Sun and Reuters]

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