Introduction: Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) is a rare disorder with debilitating physical and psychological sequela. We characterized the epidemiology, symptomatology, disease course and treatment of POIS with the intention to create a disease-specific questionnaire to help guide therapeutic investigation
Methods: An encrypted survey instrument was administered to the only known online community of POIS patients. The survey characterizes the condition using five diagnostic criteria, stratifies cases into one or more of seven proposed symptom clusters, and then queries for additional data of interest.
Results: We received 235 responses. POIS symptoms were reported following masturbation with ejaculation (225 respondents, 95.7%), intercourse with ejaculation (181, 77.0%) and nocturnal emission (135, 57.4%). Symptoms were likely to occur frequently. Symptoms followed 90-100% of ejaculation events in 178 (75.7%) respondents. Symptom onset was rapid, occurring within thirty minutes in 134 respondents (57.0%). Symptoms tended to peak in 12-48 hours and last for 2-7 days. Common symptoms included difficulty concentrating (210, 89.4%), extreme fatigue (198, 84.3%) and muscle weakness (169, 71.9%). Behavioral modifications included avoiding masturbation (168, 71.5%) and avoiding sexual intercourse (145, 61.7%). The most commonly reported comorbidities were premature ejaculation (108, 46.0%), depression (57, 24.3%) and generalized anxiety disorder (42, 17.9%). Erectile dysfunction was relatively uncommon (33, 14.0%). Of respondents who sought medical advice (122, 51.9%), 102 consulted a generalist (83.6%), 74 consulted a urologist (60.1%) and 28 consulted a non-physician (23.0%). Common treatments included antihistamines (73, 31.1%) and SSRIs (39, 16.6%).
Conclusions: POIS is a distressing condition with variable symptomatology and relatively constant syndrome onset. Respondents indicated considerable disruption to their lives in addition to physical pain and discomfort. Many respondents sought medical treatment, although treatment is neither standardized nor routinely effective. Source of