Been feeling under the weather? Nose all stuffed up, barely able to breathe? Well, at least one doctor recommends that you get yourself off to treat that nasal drip, any way you can. Seriously - the suggestion was even published in Medical Hypotheses, a real journal.
The author, Sina Zarrintan from Iran, points out that sex and masturbation might be safer means of relieving nasal decongestion than medications.
The basic argument is simple. Stuffy noses are caused by the nasal membranes becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels. Orgasms, by nature, turn on the sympathetic nervous system, which, among other things, causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to decongestion. The same system is turned on by decongestants - that's how they work.
Furthermore, the author argues, "oral or topical use of decongestants can have adverse effects of sympathetic stimulation such as hypertension. Furthermore, if used for more than two or three days, they can actually make congestion worse."
Therefore, "ejaculation can be used as a potential treatment of nasal congestion because its emission phase provides a sympathetic stimulation and subsequent vasoconstriction and nasal decongestion."
So instead of using a drug to turn on sympathetic nervous system activities, so the argument goes, use sex.
Also, "the patient can adjust the number of intercourses or masturbations depending on the severity of the symptoms." So you can adjust your 'dose' accordingly.
It sounds good, but not everyone agrees with the author's conclusions. Mohammad Amin Abolghassemi Fakhree, in a response to the pro-ejaculation article, says that the side effects of masturbation outweigh any nasal-decongesting benefits.
Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, for example, can be more harmful than the side-effects of decongestants, and masturbation has been linked to increases in prostate cancer. He also notes that males are limited in how frequently they masturbate, meaning they might not be able to do it enough to alleviate their symptoms.
"Finally," he writes, "ejaculation reflex is affected by both physiological and psychological conditions of individual, so the result can be unreliable."
"Based on these limitations and other possible complications, the author hypothesizes that ejaculation or masturbation cannot be used as a treatment for nasal congestion in mature males, because it is not possible to use every time and everywhere, has its own side effects and is not reliable."
Oh no! Clearly, we need a more thorough research into the potential for this revolutionary treatment plan. Can I get any volunteers for the study?
1. S ZARRINTAN (2008). Ejaculation as a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males Medical Hypotheses, 71 (2), 308-308 DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.03.010
2. M FAKHREE (2008). Ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion in men is inconvenient, unreliable and potentially hazardous Medical Hypotheses, 71 (5), 809-809 DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.07.022