Have you ever injected your own semen into your arm to cure back pain? No? Then you’re not the subject of a new case study in the Irish Medical Journal, a real dude who, sans medical advice, did just that to treat chronic back pain.
The medical trailblazer reported to the hospital recently, with sudden onset lower back pain, which he attributed to some heavy lifting he’d done three days prior. His physician noticed an erythematous papule (red swollen area) on his right arm, prompting the patient to detail a year and a half of monthly semen injections.
As you might imagine, this “alternative therapy” caused more problems than it solved. A hardened area developed near the injection site, and there was a large region of subcutaneous emphysema (air trapped under the skin) easily seen on an x-ray. His blood has elevated levels of white blood cells and a protein that occurs in response to inflammation. The doctor gave him an intravenous antimicrobial treatment, and, when his back pain naturally abated, the patient discharged himself from the hospital.
The authors of the study conducted a thorough review of both legitimate medical publications and “more eclectic internet sites and forums.” They couldn’t find any other cases of human semen injection for any purpose, so you can’t accuse this guy of being unoriginal.
The authors called the case a reminder of the dangers of untrained laypeople performing injections, the danger of injecting substances not meant to be injected, and the risks of medical experimentation without extensive clinical research. But we think the real lesson is to just go to the damn doctor.
It’s fun to talk about this guy’s misguided attempt at self-doctoring, but his reticence to get real medical advice is all too common. Old magazines, repetitive paperwork, and sitting pantsless on that crinkly paper are all experiences we’d be happy to skip. But the worst part, at least for men, might be swallowing your pride and surrendering control.
So while you don’t need to be told that semen self-injection is a bad idea, if this story nudges you to stop putting off that checkup then this guy’s unconventional treatment will have done some medical good after all.