Post orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS)

Marcel D. Waldinger


Men with post orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) become ill rather immediately after ejaculation, whether spontaneously at night, during sexual intercourse or masturbation. Two subtypes are distinguished: primary and secondary POIS. It also occurs before or after a man has been sterilized. POIS is an invalidating most probably auto-immune disease leading to much distress in males and their partners. It is characterized by five criteria. Its symptoms are described by seven clusters. However, the manifestation of these symptoms varies from one male to the other but is relatively constant in the person himself. Among men the symptoms vary in intensity, durations and sort of symptoms. POIS is a chronic disorder that manifests itself in POIS “attacks” that occur within a few minutes to a few hours after ejaculation, and disappear spontaneously after 3 to 7 days. POIS is not associated with increased total serum IgE concentrations. On the contrary, there are indications that POIS is triggered by specific cytokines that are released by an auto-immune reaction to the man’s seminal fluid. Indirect clinical evidence suggests that the antigen (Ag) triggering the POIS systemic reaction is not bound to spermatozoa but to seminal fluid produced by prostatic tissue. In addition, POIS may also occur—although rarely—in females. In those cases, it is hypothesized that the Ag is associated with female prostatic tissue around the vagina.