Can You Really Be Allergic to Your Own Semen?

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The bad news? If you exhibit flu-like symptoms immediately after ejaculation, it’s possible you may be allergic to your own semen, according to a recent article by Reuters. The good news? Doctors may be able to lessen your symptoms, though treatment could take three years.

According to the report by Reuters correspondent Kate Kelland, post orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) has been documented in scientific papers since 2002, but remains unknown by many family doctors. Men with POIS develop fever, runny nose, eye irritation and severe fatigue immediately following ejaculation, with symptoms lasting up to a week. (More on 5 Little-Known Truths About American Sex Lives)

“They didn’t feel ill when they masturbated without ejaculating, but as soon as the semen came from the testes…after that they became ill, sometimes within just a few minutes,” Marcel Waldinger, a professor of sexual psychopharmacology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who recently published two studies on the condition in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, told Reuters.

In one study, 33 Dutch men who were diagnosed with POIS were given a skin-prick test with a diluted form of their own semen — a standard allergy test. Of those, 29 had a positive response, suggesting allergy.

The second study, conducted on just two patients, was an opportunity for Waldinger to try a standard allergy treatment called hyposensitization therapy. Over the course of a few years, the patients were injected with solutions that contained increasingly higher concentrations of their own semen. At follow-up exams one and three years later, both patients reported reduced POIS symptoms. (More on Sperm on Steroids: 6 Inches Long and Raring to Fertilize)

Waldinger and his team are now trying hyposensitization therapy on other POIS patients, Reuters reports.

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