New Study Identifies Sexual Activity as Asthma Trigger

LOUISVILLE, KY (November 10, 2022) – When people with asthma wonder what forms of exercise might cause an asthma flare, they may not take sexual relations into account. A new study being presented at this year’s American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting in Louisville, KY, shows that sex can be an undiagnosed trigger for asthma exacerbations.

“We wanted to investigate whether case studies on asthma exacerbations mentioned sexual activity as a possible cause,” said Ariel Leung, MD, an ACAAI member and lead author of the study. “Many people don’t realize that the energy expenditure of sexual activity is about equivalent to walking up two flights of stairs. Reported cases are infrequent, possibly because those suffering an asthma flare may not realize the trigger.”

The study collected available literature on sexual intercourse as an underdiagnosed trigger for asthma exacerbations. The authors searched the PUBMED database for a variety of keywords including “sexual intercourse OR honeymoon asthma OR sexual behavior AND allergy OR allergic reaction.”

“Another possible cause of underreporting of this condition is the intimate nature of the subject,” says allergist A.M. Aminian, MD, an ACAAI member and co-author of the study. “People may not be comfortable discussing with their allergist an asthma flare that was caused by sex. But allergists are specialists in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of asthma. If anyone would be able to guide a patient in how to avoid an asthma flare in the future, it would be their allergist. When sexual activity-induced asthma is properly identified and treated, allergists are better able to improve their patient’s quality of life.”

Abstract Title: How Allergists are Saving Marriages: A Review on Sexual Intercourse Presenting as Exercise-Induced Asthma

Presenter: Ariel Leung, MD

For more information about treating asthma and managing asthma symptoms, or to find an allergist in your area, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. The ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting is Nov. 10-14. For more news and research from the ACAAI Scientific Meeting, go to our newsroom – and follow the conversation on Twitter #ACAAI22.

About ACAAI

The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy, and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.