A man and his partner’s attempt at a treatment for erectile dysfunction went disastrously wrong, according to his doctors. In a recent case report, they detail how his partner accidentally shot insulation foam into the man’s penis and bladder while a straw connected to the spray had been inserted into his urethra. Afterward, he began to urinate blood. Though doctors were able to remove the hardened foam eventually, the man will require further procedures to repair his urethra.
The unfortunate tale was published in the November issue of Urology Case Reports, though it only seems to have garnered media attention this week. According to the report, the 45-year-old man had been inserting various objects into his urethra for some time as an aid for erectile dysfunction. During one such occasion, he and his partner had decided to use a straw attached to a can of weatherproofing spray, when the partner “inadvertently pressed the button deploying the foam.” The foam then shot through his entire urethra, even filling up his bladder. The man waited three weeks before seeking medical attention at an emergency room, during which time he increasingly had difficulty urinating and urinating blood when he did.
Inserting objects into the penis can lead to something called urethral stricture disease, or scarring that narrows the already tight passageway of the urethra. In this man’s case, his narrowed urethra apparently anchored the spray foam in place along his penis. And while doctors were able to remove the foam from his bladder with relative ease, his condition meant that they couldn’t fish out the rest from his penis with minimal endoscopic surgery. Instead, they had to cut him open through his perineum (the skin between the penis and anus, also known as the taint).
The surgery appeared to go off without a hitch, with no major complications in the three weeks afterward. But the man did continue to need a suprapubic catheter, a tube inserted into the bladder outside of the urethra so that he can urinate as needed. According to the report, the man is still having his catheter maintained in “anticipation of a urethral repair.”
Sexual gratification is a major reason why people insert things into the urethra, but it can also be a result of mental illness, and people who perform these acts can be at risk of repeating them, the doctors noted. Though the man doesn’t appear to have had any episodes since, it’s likely that he would need to go through a psychological evaluation before any attempt at reconstructive surgery would be made, according to the report.
The doctors recommend that patients in similar cases be treated with antibiotics following a successful removal and monitored for urinary tract infections, urethral stricture, and other complications.