Advertisement

healthHealth and Medicinehealthhealth

Sexual Intercourse May Be A Trigger For Asthma Attacks

But the good news is that sex counts as exercise.

author

Ben Taub

Freelance Writer

clockNov 10 2022, 13:00 UTC
asthma inhaler
Asthmatics may be too embarrassed to report sex-related symptoms to doctors. Image credit: Rybalchenko Nadezhda/Shutterstock.com

Getting busy in the bedroom may be a risk factor for asthma attacks, say the authors of a new study. However, while sport and other forms of physical exercise are well recognized as triggers for asthma-related exacerbations, post-coital flare-ups have gone underreported, as patients are often too shy to discuss such intimate incidents with doctors.

According to the researchers, up to 90 percent of asthmatic individuals may have experienced exercise-induced symptoms at some point in their lives. However, because sex is not widely regarded as a form of exercise, few patients or doctors are willing to recognize the link between intercourse and asthma attacks.

Advertisement

“Many people don’t realize that the energy expenditure of sexual activity is about equivalent to walking up two flights of stairs,” explained study author Dr Ariel Leung in a statement

Suspecting that sexual intercourse may be an underdiagnosed trigger for asthma attacks, the researchers conducted a review of all existing medical case studies on the subject. What they found were a small number of cases, most of which alluded to the fact that patients are reluctant to report sex-related asthma attacks due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.

In an email to IFLScience, Leung explained that “the exact prevalence of sexual intercourse presenting as exercise-induced asthma is not known, but it can be deduced that patients with exercise-induced asthma likely would also experience coitus-induced asthma.”

Advertisement

“The general prevalence of exercise-induced asthma is around 5-20 percent of the general population, so we're talking about a large proportion of people, not just asthmatics.”

Interestingly, while reported cases of sex-related asthma exacerbations were few and far-between, the researchers did come across a higher number of case studies involving allergic reactions to seminal fluid or latex during sexual intercourse.

Overall, Leung says that sex-induced asthma is likely to go unmentioned by patients. “Reporting of symptoms during sexual intercourse relies on the patient's comfortability with their provider and the provider’s awareness of characterizing sexual activity as exercise,” she says.

Advertisement

And while many asthmatics may be too embarrassed to discuss such matters with doctors, Leung says that raising awareness of the issue can help to limit bedroom flare-ups. “The pathophysiology of sexual intercourse-induced asthma mirrors exercise-induced asthma, so it makes sense that it's treatment is similar,” she says.

“We recommend that patients take their SABA (short acting beta agonist) – most likely their albuterol inhaler – 30 minutes prior to sexual intercourse to prevent an asthma attack.”

“Some patients might think it takes away from the romance, but nothing is more romantic than taking care of yourself and not having your partner observe an asthma attack.”

Advertisement

The research is due to be presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting.


healthHealth and Medicinehealthhealth
  • tag
  • sex,

  • asthma,

  • exercise,

  • health,

  • asthma attack,

  • sexual intercourse

ABOUT THE AUTHOR