"Semenly" Harmless Back Pain
January 17, 2019 2:01 PM   Subscribe

In a new case study, Irish doctors report the baffling case of a 33-year-old man who injected his own semen intravenously for a year and a half, a self-developed “cure” intended to treat his chronic back pain. It does not appear to have worked.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (91 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite


 
I see he discharged himself.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 2:03 PM on January 17 [84 favorites]


Reading this article had the novel side-effect of causing my testicles to retract into my body.

GAH
posted by GuyZero at 2:04 PM on January 17


He came, he saw, he injected.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:04 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


I thought about this a lot today, mainly because I want to hear the conversations that followed this. I don't mean that I want to know the circumstances -- those are laid out -- I just want to hear this guy try and explain it.

If it were the US, I could see why he checked himself out of the hospital AMA, but it's hard to imagine why he left it as it is. Pride? I vaguely wonder if he's okay in his apartment somewhere or he's dying of sepsis.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:07 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


He’s got spunk, I’ll say that.
posted by Segundus at 2:08 PM on January 17 [47 favorites]


w h y
posted by poffin boffin at 2:11 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Do you want stem cells? Because this is not how you get stem cells!
posted by slkinsey at 2:12 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


I vaguely wonder if he's okay in his apartment somewhere or he's dying of sepsis.

I wonder what you need to inject to treat sepsis.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:12 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


like, I have chronic back pain, and sometimes feel like there are lots of things I might do to make it go away.

this is not one of those things.
posted by supermedusa at 2:12 PM on January 17 [21 favorites]


A man, a plan, a syringe, spermatozoa.
posted by maxsparber at 2:13 PM on January 17 [35 favorites]


This is not how babby is formed.
posted by Segundus at 2:17 PM on January 17 [27 favorites]


> I wonder what you need to inject to treat sepsis.
More sepsis! Just fuck yourself up with sepsis right in ya veins, just be like "i'm gonna be the william s burroughs of shooting my own liquified kidneys into my rapidly dissolving carotid" go fucking hog wild all night
posted by boo_radley at 2:19 PM on January 17 [20 favorites]


I wonder what you need to inject to treat sepsis.

not a doctor but i bet it's more jizz
posted by poffin boffin at 2:21 PM on January 17 [38 favorites]


From reading the article, it seems like the guy was intending to inject the sperm intravenously but, to his extreme good fortune, managed to completely miss all blood vessels and inject it subcutaneously instead? The injections are repeatedly described as "intravenous", but the air bubbles were subcutaneous.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:23 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


i mean traditionally one should use the blood or sweat of whichever gladiator won the day's primus
posted by poffin boffin at 2:36 PM on January 17 [15 favorites]


This from the same species who traveled to the moon
posted by MillMan at 2:37 PM on January 17 [28 favorites]


Oh! So in this case he's using his Penis Beaker to *collect* his semen prior to syringe filling, and not to dunk his shamrock in afterwards as the English do. Novel.
posted by Wordshore at 2:41 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


Also: wouldn't he have been better off injecting it into his back?
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:44 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Going to go out on a limb here and say that in order to do this guy is full of himself.
posted by barchan at 2:48 PM on January 17 [19 favorites]


Also: wouldn't he have been better off injecting it into his back?

He's from Ireland, not Nantucket.
posted by AndrewInDC at 2:48 PM on January 17 [41 favorites]


It's always somewhat amusing to remember that even with a horrendously poor understanding of modern medicine, you can still make a contribution to published medical research, albeit as the subject of a case study.
posted by -1 at 2:51 PM on January 17 [23 favorites]


Man, the doctors seem to come down hard on this alternative treatment. Maybe the conclusion is premature?
posted by nubs at 2:56 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


I get regular iron infusions, and you can taste them as they’re injected.

That said, I’m shocked he attempted this more than once.
posted by mochapickle at 2:56 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Not an expert on back pain, but has he tried marijuana yet? Less complications, plus you get high
posted by naju at 2:57 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Cons: not as legal in Ireland as injecting semen
posted by naju at 2:58 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


The needle and the damage cum?
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:01 PM on January 17 [23 favorites]


Cons: not as legal in Ireland as injecting semen

Well, the Irish government is a bit slow on these things; it wasn't until 1993 that the more popular way for guys to get sperm injections was legalized.
posted by MikeKD at 3:02 PM on January 17 [14 favorites]


I see that this story had an unsatisfactory climax.
posted by AJaffe at 3:08 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


A search of more eclectic internet sites and forums found no other documentation of semen injection for back pain treatment or other uses.

Q: “How was work today?”

A: *stares off into middle distance*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:09 PM on January 17 [80 favorites]


That said, I’m shocked he attempted this more than once.

Maybe the doctors told him to come again?
posted by nubs at 3:09 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


The only real surprise in this story is that the guy is in Ireland. I'd expect it out of the cutthroat American market-based health care "system," not a civilized system.

Perhaps I was a bit premature.
posted by yesster at 3:16 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


"I don't mean that I want to know the circumstances -- those are laid out -- I just want to hear this guy try and explain it. "

I don't. No matter how patently ludicrous his reasoning is, it will be enough for some nutso on facebook to latch onto and start spreading as some secret cure doctors don't want you to know about it and before long celebrities are sligning needles full of branded jizz as some hogwash cure-all.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:17 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


Too late. "Goop" is already a thing.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


So the doctors disseminated the story of a desemenation.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


This is not what is meant by an injection of vitamin D.
posted by biogeo at 3:27 PM on January 17 [23 favorites]


MetaFilter: needles full of branded jizz as some hogwash cure-all.
posted by cgc373 at 3:27 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


A lot of medical industrial complex shills commenting here
posted by edeezy at 3:35 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


Came for the comments, was satisfied.
posted by Occula at 3:38 PM on January 17 [22 favorites]


Normally a “semen injection” would be a euphemism, but this guy is more of a literal type.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:39 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


>The doctors performed a search of the medical literature and beyond, revealing not a single case of intravenous semen injection for back pain. According to the case study:
>"Although there is a report of the effects of subcutaneous semen injection into rats and rabbits,

WHY IN THE GOOD GOD DAMN HELL IS THERE A REPORT ON THE EFFECTS OF SUBCUTANEOUS SEMEN INJECTION INTO RATS AND RABBITS
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:41 PM on January 17 [46 favorites]


Therein lies a harey tail.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:43 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


OK, but the science remains unclear about whether intravenous injections of your own semen can cure back pain.

Seriously, this guy needs to get together with the blood peddlers a few posts down.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:44 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


All the trouble people with penises go to to get semen out of their bodies and this darn fool is putting it back in.
posted by davros42 at 3:45 PM on January 17 [26 favorites]



OK, but the science remains unclear about whether intravenous injections of your own semen can cure back pain.


So you're saying he might have pulled it off?
posted by dragstroke at 3:48 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


Bacsich P, Sharman A, Wyburn GM. The Effects of the Injection of Human Semen into Female Animals. BJOG 1945; 52: 334-8.

I'm not sure why, but the fact that someone was specifically injecting *human* semen specifically into *female* animals makes that worlds creepier.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:50 PM on January 17 [32 favorites]


It was 1945. If Bacsich, Sharman, and Wyburn were around today they'd have a subreddit of some very disturbing cartoons instead.
posted by JDHarper at 3:54 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


What the fuck, Bacsich, Sharman and Wyburn. Procter and Gamble were bad enough.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:55 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


This is hilarious, but an extreme example of what can happen when primary health care is not free. Ireland has a long way to go. Most people just avoid the doctor altogether.
posted by gohabsgo at 3:55 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


I just want to hear this guy try and explain it.

It was a misheard song lyric. What Nirvana actually said was "come as you are."
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:58 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


To be fair, I can imagine some legitimate scientific questions that might prompt such a study, particularly in the 1940s. In particular, trying to understand the antigens present in semen by studying the immune reaction of these animals to it.

Or it could just be some weird "WTF old-timey science" thing. I'm almost curious enough to see if my library has the article...
posted by biogeo at 4:04 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Please hold for a message from the offices of Bacsich, Sharman, Wyburn, and Moreau...
Yes?
According to our tests, the rabbit died.
OMG! We're pregnant?
No, I'm sorry. The rabbit just died. We suspect autoerotique asphyxia.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:05 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Oh god the PDF is online
posted by biogeo at 4:08 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I AM NOT CLICKING THAT LINK!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:10 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


He skipped over getting medical advice from Facebook mom groups and went straight to /b/.
posted by Blue Meanie at 4:11 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


"The supplies of semen were obtained for us by Dr. W. S. Mack, to whom we are indebted."

ಠ_ಠ
posted by JDHarper at 4:12 PM on January 17 [35 favorites]


Paging Doctor Smack. Doctor Smack to the white phone, please.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:15 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Turns out it's a hilarious combination of both possibilities!

Basically, they say that a lot of scientists think that female sexual organs require semen to fully mature, possibly from testosterone or other sex hormones present in it (remember, this is the 1940s). So they decided to test it by injecting semen subcutaneously into female animals, then looking at the development of their reproductive system. And shockingly enough, semen had no effect, and their reproductive systems matured normally without it. Also they note that semen doesn't even contain significant amounts of testosterone or any other known sex hormones. So basically the article seems to be trying to put a kind of kooky "WTF old-timey science" theory to bed.

They make no mention of whether it helped with the animals' back pain.
posted by biogeo at 4:21 PM on January 17 [25 favorites]


has he tried marijuana yet? Less complications, plus you get high

Patient: I've been injecting my own semen into my arm to treat my back pain.
Doctor: Have you considered trying marijuana for that?
Patient: Briefly, but when I tried marijuana, nothing come out of the syringe. Do I need a bigger syringe or something?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:29 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Hmm, but why would they use human semen in other animals? Couldn't the effects have been species specific?
posted by smelendez at 4:29 PM on January 17


I heard size doesn't matter.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:30 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Hmm, but why would they use human semen in other animals? Couldn't the effects have been species specific?

I invite you to make your case to the IRB
posted by saturday_morning at 4:48 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


I guess they just had some on hand.

It's not exactly a seminal paper.
posted by biogeo at 4:49 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


This article is very interesting, but another by the same author is absolutely dumbfounding:

Man Had So Many Prostate Orgasms He Couldn't Stop, According to New Paper.

Not because this man and his many and more intense orgasms and the community dedicated to exploring the phenomenon in general are especially engaging, but for the amazing illumination it sheds on the relationship between male and female sexualities in human beings and the evolution of that relationship. Don't neglect to click on the link to the original paper, which is available in full from Wiley.
posted by jamjam at 5:00 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


oh hey cool I guess we're coming up with semen puns in this thread I think I've got one ready

*deep breath*

*HYSTERICAL UNCONTROLLABLE PANIC SCREAMING*

I can't, I need to leave this thread, there were AIR BUBBLES JESUS CHRIST WHAT ARE YOU DOING
posted by chrominance at 5:53 PM on January 17 [8 favorites]


I can't believe that they published this in IMJ when PNAS is right there.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:18 PM on January 17 [37 favorites]


The swollen region grew and hardened around the area on his arm where he’d injected his semen, and an x-ray revealed an area of trapped air beneath the man’s skin. The doctors immediately hospitalized the patient, treating him with an intravenous antimicrobial therapy. After the patient’s back pain improved, he discharged himself.
ಠ_ಠ
posted by duffell at 6:23 PM on January 17 [10 favorites]


so when does this Sawbones episode drop?
posted by snerson at 7:09 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


he discharged himself

The cause of, and solution to, all this guy's problems
posted by zeptoweasel at 7:25 PM on January 17 [17 favorites]


Hmm, but why would they use human semen in other animals? Couldn't the effects have been species specific?

i think we gotta ask dr weiner smacker about his methods
posted by poffin boffin at 7:29 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


I can't, I need to leave this thread, there were AIR BUBBLES JESUS CHRIST WHAT ARE YOU DOING

Sometimes it comes out frothy. Like if you've just been jogging or whatever.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:29 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Me, hot take 1: what part of Florida is the town of Ireland in?
Me, memory: that girl in college drank her urine to cure hangovers,
Me memory: euro court aristocrats used to snort dried powdered shit.
me, vaguely: didn't texas cousin try to become cultguru with article about anti-depressant effects of semen ingestion.
me,: uh oh, back hurts!
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 7:30 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Also, i seem to remember studies where they sewed chicken testies into prisoners to see if it would make them more handsome and less likely to be asocial criminals.

Science: you don't know for sure until your back hurts, your arm hurts, and you can't stop prostrating.
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 7:33 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Monkey testes, not chicken.
posted by twoplussix at 8:01 PM on January 17


Regarding air bubbles:
That's in the other post, the one about the swallow-able fart sensor capsule gizmo
posted by twoplussix at 8:02 PM on January 17


I can't, I need to leave this thread, there were AIR BUBBLES JESUS CHRIST WHAT ARE YOU DOING

How else are the sperm going to breathe while they march their way to the lower back?
posted by dr_dank at 8:23 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


Sometimes it comes out frothy. Like if you've just been jogging or whatever.

IS THIS TRUE?? (I don’t really know about such things.) IS IT LIKE A LATTE??
posted by greermahoney at 9:25 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Exactly like a latte, it even makes that espresso machine noise. CHWWHHRRRRHHGHGH
posted by drinkyclown at 10:31 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


All joking aside, a living breathing Republican who won an election to a national office stated, on the record, that the use of condoms prevents women from the non-pregnancy benefits of their partners' semen. Basically these poor women cannot achieve full emotional maturity if their husbands are prevented from helping them be their best by using their bodies as a receptacle for the magic semen. I'm sure it was mentioned here on Metafilter recently, but I'm struggling to find any mention of it now.

So, yeah, strange beliefs about the healing power of semen are probably a lot more common than we would prefer to think.

From the perspective of "the writers" that we so frequently allude to around here, the story would be better if the dude were into "sounding" (using foreign objects to stimulate the urethra, and sometimes up to and including the bladder) and had a greater attention to sanitation and air exposure. Imagine if he'd figured out how to mount a Leuer-lock hypodermic needle directly to his penis via urethral insertion.

(I bet you didn't see that coming, did you? I know I shouldn't erect such a horrendous notion, but I couldn't stop myself and it just came pouring out. Mods, I'm sorry to be such a handful!
Hopefully as we go back and forth on this hard subject, you'll realize that unloading on you will help me clear out the ole pipes and see things afresh. This refractory period of contemplation is sometimes the best part, isn't it?)
posted by yesster at 10:37 PM on January 17 [7 favorites]


Help how do I delete yesster's post?
posted by loquacious at 3:12 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


I can't believe that they published this in IMJ when PNAS is right there.

I work in a medical library, and I deeply wish I could explain why I just laughed out loud at the service desk, but I really really can't.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:57 AM on January 18 [11 favorites]


Metafilter turned into an episode of Lou Reads the Internet for You so gradually I didn't notice.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:41 AM on January 18


Sometimes it comes out frothy.

Wait, really? I have, um, plenty of personal experience in this general area and this is the first I'm even hearing of that. How would it get frothy? The prostate isn't supposed to have air in it, I don't think.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:06 AM on January 18


The prostate isn't supposed to have air in it, I don't think.


"Supposed to" is carrying a lot of baggage and also trying to do a lot of work in that sentence. You have to imagine the possible before you can create it!


I'd be happy to postulate some technological approaches to this. But based on responses to some of the things I did around here last night, I should probably get a definitive indication of consent before I proceed.

All you gotta do is ask.
posted by yesster at 7:22 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


So you're saying he might have pulled it off?
posted by dragstroke at 6:48 PM on January 17


That's one way to do it.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 7:41 AM on January 18


I see he discharged himself.

I wanted to favorite that comment but saw it had 69 favorites. I decided to leave it at that
posted by DreamerFi at 9:12 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


You could probably modify a sink aerator so that it would froth itself on the way out.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:01 AM on January 18


Or inject carbonated water through the urethra just before ejaculation. So I've heard.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:57 PM on January 18


That said, I’m shocked he attempted this more than once.

The bear shakes his head at the hunter and says, "You don't come here for the hunting, do you?"
posted by one for the books at 5:43 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


How would it get frothy? The prostate isn't supposed to have air in it, I don't think.

Well my physio has told me that I don't always sit correctly.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:27 PM on January 20


Lot's of commentary without a single mention of "Bat Shit Crazy".
posted by kjs3 at 8:25 PM on January 21


Ah, I had a feeling I'd left off an appropriate tag!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:25 PM on January 22


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