How an asthma attack can be triggered by sex

How an asthma attack can be triggered by sex

A young man uses an asthma inhaler while a young woman comforts himShare on Pinterest
Experts say that sexual activity can affect breathing patterns and airways. Studio Rg/Fake Images
  • The researchers say that sexual activity can be an asthma trigger for some people.
  • They say that’s because sex, like any exercise, can affect your airways and breathing patterns.
  • Experts say people with asthma can take precautions during sexual activity, including keeping an EpiPen nearby.

New research reports that sexual activity can be like walking up two flights of stairs and may be an asthma trigger.

researchers submitted their study today at the 2022 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.

“We wanted to investigate whether case studies of asthma exacerbations mentioned sexual activity as a possible cause,” he said. Dr. Ariel Leung, chief resident of internal medicine at Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California. and lead author of the study.

The abstract is titled “How Allergists Are Saving Marriages: A Review of Intercourse Presenting as Exercise-Induced Asthma.”

The findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

“Many people don’t realize that the energy expenditure of sexual activity is equivalent to walking up two flights of stairs,” Leung said in a statement. “Reported cases are rare, possibly because those who experience an asthma attack may not be aware of the trigger.”

The researchers reviewed the available literature on sexual intercourse as an underdiagnosed cause of asthma exacerbations.

They searched the National Library of Medicine PUBMED database for keywords, including “sexual intercourse OR honeymoon asthma OR sexual behavior AND allergy OR allergic reaction.”

The researchers noted that sexual activity could be an even bigger trigger than studies show.

One of the study’s co-authors said in the statement that the condition may not be reported due to the intimate nature of the subject.

“People may not feel comfortable discussing an asthma flare-up caused by sex with their allergist,” he said. Dr AM Aminian, an allergist at the Allergy Institute in Fresno. “But allergists are specialists in the diagnosis, treatment and control of asthma. If anyone could guide a patient on how to avoid an asthma attack in the future, it would be their allergist. When sexually induced asthma is properly identified and treated, allergists can improve the quality of life for their patients.”

Dr Morris Nejat specializes in pediatric and adult allergy and immunology and is the owner of NY Allergy & Sinus Centers in New York. He told Healthline that sexual activity can work like any exercise on the body.

But there could also be a little-known allergy at work.

“If sexual activity triggers asthma, there could be two problems,” Nejat said. “If your asthma is not controlled, it can trigger asthma, just like any other form of exercise. You should see your allergist to better manage your asthma control.”

“Also, some people may be allergic to semen and an allergic reaction may be due to exposure to semen,” Nejat added. “Anaphylaxis hives, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, and/or throat tightness may be accompanied by intense itching. If this is suspected, your allergist may do a skin test on your partner’s semen.”

“If a patient is found to be allergic to semen, they should have an EpiPen and should discuss options with their doctor,” Nejat said. “If it’s their asthma, they should see an allergist to optimize their asthma treatment so they can enjoy this activity without having an asthma exacerbation.”

Or maybe they just need to keep their inhaler close by, just in case, he said. brian-clarkregistered nurse anesthetist and founder of the United Medical Education online medical library.

“Sex is a strenuous exercise where our heartbeats race and we breathe rapidly,” Clark explained to Healthline. “This could trigger an asthma reaction causing severe shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. If such an event occurs, one should slow down, use the reliever inhaler and rest for a while. The best way to prevent any asthma trigger is to control it well at all times.”

sarah melancon She is a sociologist and sexologist who works as a sexual counselor, researcher and educator. She told Healthline that breathing and sexual function have something in common.

“Breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, as is sexual function,” Melancon explained. “Asthma is hypothesis of being linked with dysregulation in the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve, which is responsible for narrowing the airways. In relation to this, the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve play a key role in erection, vaginal lubrication and orgasm, so it is not surprising that sex can trigger an asthma attack.

Melancon added that the link between sexual problems and asthma dates back to at least the 12th century, “when the philosopher and physician Maimonides suggested a bowl of chicken soup before sex for severe asthmatics, among other dietary recommendations for asthma in general”.

Melancon also noted a study 2019in which participants described having to stop during sex because they can’t breathe.

“Some have adapted to using their inhaler or nebulizer during sex, while others are repulsed by the idea,” Melancon said. “Five out of nine participants experienced fear that orgasm would trigger severe bronchospasm and require emergency assistance, creating anxiety and limiting sexual pleasure.

“Others reported experimenting with different positions or using pillows as props,” Melancon said. “Some felt that these adaptations were positive and a sign of intimacy with their partner. Many, however, felt frustration, guilt, self-loathing, and “involuntary pressure” to have sex. However, almost no participants discussed the issue with their doctor.

The ACAII says that for more information on asthma treatment and managing asthma symptoms or to find an allergist in your area, visit

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