Did you know that there are individuals who feel quite unwell, terribly sick and clouded after sex and after an orgasm? This is a rare and nonetheless very real condition.
One can imagine how this condition can reduce one’s desire for sexual intimacy and result in avoidance of sex or masturbation and even relationships completely.
Some people with POIS plan their intercourse to avoid the consequence of ejaculation on their daily essential activities like study or work.
I needed to highlight the existence of this problem. Rare it might be, it is important that we know this exists so individuals with such symptoms don’t feel they have to live in hiding with this.
What is POIS?
It is a debilitating cluster of symptoms that start to affect men from as soon as they have ejaculated or some hours after ejaculation. This can be ejaculation during intercourse or during masturbation or even with the spontaneous overnight ejaculation (wet dreams), symptoms that come with this can last for couple of days to a week. POIS is extremely underrecognized and underdiagnosed.
What are some of the symptoms?
The symptoms of POIS can include feeling one or more of the following that occurs about 90% of the time with ejaculation and lasts for about 2-7 days
· Flu like illness
· Extreme fatigue
· Muscular weakness
· Mood disturbance and irritability
· Incoherent speech – (sometimes difficulty with word finding)
· Difficulty concentrating
These symptoms will disappear spontaneously after a few days. In the interim it leaves you feeling horrible and interferes with your ability to interact socially e.g. with friends or at work.
Can it occur at any point in my lifetime?
Yes, it can begin from your very first ejaculation ever or it can be acquired at any point in your lifetime.
Why does it happen?
Great question! We don’t really know with certainty. But of course, there are theories.
Some of the theories behind Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome include:
· A disordered immune response – like an allergic hypersensitivity reaction to one’s own semen
· Opioid like withdrawal – So during orgasm there’s this sudden surge of endorphins and opioids (let’s call it the happy chemical that give you a high) and then after a while these happy chemicals just disappear and you end up having these withdrawal symptoms
· Transient disruption of the autonomic nervous system
Could the POIS symptoms also mimic other medical conditions?
Yes, yes, yes. A thorough history and a proper and complete physical examination needs to be done to exclude these other problems
· Chronic prostatitis – chronic prostate inflammation
· Post orgasmic cataplexy – sudden muscle weakness after an orgasm
· Orgasm associated headaches – explosive headaches that happen after sex that could indicate a problem with blood vessels in the brain
How can I make this better?
As yet a definite treatment for POIS has been unconfirmed, but many medications like anti-inflammatories, steroids and antihistamine can be used to aid the symptoms. Some experimental desensitization strategies have also been tested, including reinjecting one’s own diluted semen back into the lymph node repeatedly, which over time has been seen to reduce overt sensitivity to semen.