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First assessment of the validity of the only diagnostic criteria for postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS)


Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a rare condition that affects men and about which little is known. According to Waldinger and colleagues, men with POIS fulfill three or more of five preliminary diagnostic criteria regarding symptoms, time to onset, setting, duration, and spontaneous disappearance. We conducted a self-report study to assess, for the first time, the validity of these criteria. One hundred and twenty-seven men with self-reported POIS have completed the survey, making this the largest study of such men to date. Almost all respondents fulfill a majority of the criteria for POIS; a large minority fulfills all five criteria. Almost all respondents always experience symptoms after ejaculating in at least one ejaculatory setting (sex, masturbation, or nocturnal emission), though only a small majority fulfill the criterion that symptoms occur after all ejaculations because a large minority always experience symptoms in one setting but not always in another. The most common symptom cluster from the criteria, involving fatigue, irritation, and concentration difficulties, is always experienced by 80% of respondents. Median symptom severity is 8 on a 0–10 scale. While almost all men with POIS fulfill a majority of the preliminary diagnostic criteria, there is room for refining some of the criteria.

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I thank Dr. Ege Can Serefoglu and Dr. Hoang Minh Tue Nguyen for their comments on a draft of the POIS Survey. I also thank all the forum participants and administrators who provided comments on the draft survey and who completed the survey.

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The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Correspondence to Alex Strashny Ph.D..

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