Men can be allergic to their own orgasms, study finds

Allergy symptoms can last for up to a week after ejaculation

Laura Hampson
Wednesday 12 October 2022 08:25 BST

Some men can have an allergic reaction to their own orgasms, a new study has found.

The allergy presents itself as immediate flu-like symptoms which can include muscle weakness, sneezing, a cough or a fever.

Symptoms that men are allergic to orgasms can also include issues with their speech, concentration and memory.

Known as post-orgasmic illness syndrome, these reactions can last anywhere from a few days to a week and could be a result from an allergic or an autoimmune response to the man’s sperm.

Co-author of the study, Andrew Shanholtzer, from the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, said that nearly 60 cases of the condition have been identified but “many more” could be living with the condition.

He added: “Many health providers do not know about it, let alone the public. It is more than likely that it is underdiagnosed, with many sufferers out there.”

For men with the condition, there is hope however. Shanholtzer said he and his team have successfully treated a 27-year-old with the condition.

The patient developed the condition when he was 18 when he noticed he was coughing, sneezing, had a runny nose and had a hive-like rash on his arms whenever he had an orgasm. He also said the lymph glands on his face and neck would swell and the symptoms would worsen the more he ejaculated.

“Because of the distressing nature of his symptoms, he actively avoided any sexual activity or romantic relationships,” the researchers said in the journal, Urology Case Reports.

After the man visited GPs to no avail, the team of scientists tried different types of antihistamines and found that a treatment called fexofenadine could ease his symptoms by up to 90 per cent.

Shanholtzer said that the allergy can stem from an infection or injury to the testicles which can lead to microscopic amounts of sperm leaking into the bloodstream.

“The immune cells in the body are trained to attack any foreign substances found,” he explained.

“There are special cells called Sertoli cells that nurture and surround sperm and keep it isolated from immune cells. When the Sertoli cells are damaged, the sperm is exposed to the immune system for the first time and the immune system attacks the sperm like it is a virus or foreign bacterium.”

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