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Sex Med Rev. 2018 Jan;6(1):11-15. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2017.08.006. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome: A Review.

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Department of Urology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA.
Department of Urology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA. Electronic address:



Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a rare but debilitating cluster of postejaculatory symptoms affecting men. It is a chronic disorder manifesting as a constellation of flulike and allergic symptoms within seconds, minutes, or hours after ejaculation. POIS can be followed by mental sequelae such as diminished concentration and irritability. POIS negatively affects the life of patients by limiting sexual encounters, dampening romantic prospects, creating internal struggles to avoid eroticism, and affecting patients' schedules. First described in 2002, the prevalence and incidence of POIS are still unknown owing to a paucity of studies but is likely under-reported. There are approximately 50 cases of POIS in the literature. Despite the debilitating effects of POIS, the pathophysiology of POIS is still not well elucidated.


To provide an update on the current literature on POIS, provide updated information on the pathophysiology of POIS, and discuss potential management options.


Comprehensive review of literature pertaining to POIS.


The symptoms, classification, pathophysiology, diagnostic considerations, and management of POIS were reviewed.


There are 5 preliminary diagnostic criteria for diagnosing this condition. POIS is categorized as primary or secondary. The autoimmune-allergy hypothesis is the most accepted hypothesis explaining the pathogenesis of POIS. A competing hypothesis involves a disorder involving endogenous μ-opioid receptors. Another hypothesis invokes impairment of the cytokine and neuroendocrine responses. There are no known treatment modalities for POIS; patients have been symptomatically treated with antihistamines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and benzodiazepines. A trial of hyposensitization therapy with autologous semen was successful. A trial of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication helped 1 patient described in a single case report, but failed to successfully treat other patients.


POIS is a rare condition that is underdiagnosed and under-reported. Further studies are warranted to investigate the prevalence, pathophysiology, and treatment of this debilitating condition. Nguyen HMT, Bala A, Gabrielson AT, Hellstrom WJG. Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome: A Review. Sex Med Rev 2018;6:11-15.


Ejaculation Disorder; Post-Orgasmic Illness Syndrome


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