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.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $14.88 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Waldinger MD, Schweitzer DH. Postorgasmic illness syndrome: two cases. J Sex Marital Ther. 2002;28:251–5.
Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). Postorgasmic illness syndrome [Internet]. Gaithersburg, MD: National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; 2017. Available from: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/10809/postorgasmic-illness-syndrome
Waldinger MD. Post orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). Transl Androl Urol. 2016;5:602–6.
Waldinger MD, MMHM Meinardi, Zwinderman AH, et al. Syndrome (POIS) in 45 Dutch caucasian males: clinical characteristics and evidence for an immunogenic pathogenesis (Part 1). J Sex Med. 2011;8:1164–70.
Ashby J, Goldmeier D. Postorgasm illness syndrome–a spectrum of illnesses. J Sex Med. 2010;7:1976–81.
Jiang N, Xi G, Li H, Yin J. Postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) in a Chinese man: no proof for IgE-mediated allergy to semen. J Sex Med. 2015;12:840–5.
Waldinger MD, MMHM Meinardi, Schweitzer DH. Hyposensitization therapy with autologous semen in two Dutch caucasian males: beneficial effects in Postorgasmic Illness Syndrome (POIS; Part 2). J Sex Med. 2011;8:1171–6.
Althof SE, McMahon CG. Contemporary management of disorders of male orgasm and ejaculation. Urology. 2016;93:9–21.
Attia AM, Yasien HA, Al-Ziny MH. Post-orgasmic illness syndrome: a case report. F1000Research. 2013;2:113.
Depreux N, Basagaña M, Pascal M. Negative allergy study in a case of postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). Rev Int Androl. 2018;16:42–4.
Kim TB, Shim YS, Lee SM, Son ES, Shim JW, Lee SP. Intralymphatic immunotherapy with autologous semen in a Korean man with post-orgasmic illness syndrome. Sex Med. 2018;6:174–9.
Puerta Suárez J, Cardona Maya W. Postorgasmic illness syndrome: semen allergy in men. Actas Urol Esp. 2013;37:593.
Dexter S. Benign coital headache relieved by partner’s pregnancies with implications for future treatment. BMJ Case Rep. 2010;2010:bcr10.2009.2359. pii
Angus-Leppan H, Caulfield A. Orgasmic migraine aura: report of two cases. Cephalalgia. 2018;39:153–6.
Shah A. Asthma and sex. Indian J Chest Dis Allied Sci. 2001;43:135–7.
Office of The Army Surgeon General. Pain Management Task Force Report [Internet]. 2010. Available from: http://www.dvcipm.org/site/assets/files/1070/pain-task-force-final-report-may-2010.pdf
R Core Team. R: a language and environment for statistical computing [Internet]. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 2018. Available from: https://www.R-project.org/
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.
Conflict of interest
The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Strashny, A. First assessment of the validity of the only diagnostic criteria for postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS). Int J Impot Res 31, 369–373 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41443-019-0154-7
Clinical experience with post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) patients—characteristics and possible treatment modality
International Journal of Impotence Research (2021)
Basic and Clinical Andrology (2019)
Editorial Comment on “First assessment of the validity of the only diagnostic criteria for postorgasmic illness syndrome (POIS)”
International Journal of Impotence Research (2019)