Mind and Body

Semen Science: Man Injects Himself With Own Semen, Develops Abscess

He devised this "cure" without any medical advice.

In the January edition of the Irish Medical Journal, physicians describe a weird case that started off innocently enough. A 33-year-old man went to the hospital because of severe, sudden onset lower back pain. He had a history of chronic lower back pain and had lifted a heavy steel object three days before he came in. It seemed reasonable; even boring. Then, he told them he had been injecting semen into his arm for months.

The admission came after his doctor noticed a patch of red swelling on his right forearm. Oh, that thing? That’s where the gentleman had used a hypodermic needle he bought online to regularly inject himself with his own semen. He was in the habit of injecting himself with one monthly “dose” of semen for 18 consecutive months but, after the injury, had picked up speed: Before the hospital visit, he had injected three doses.

The patient semen-dosed because he wanted to treat his long-standing back pain, and so without any medical advice, he devised this “cure.” In the case report, titled “‘Semenly’ Harmless Back Pain: An Unusual Presentation of Subcutaneous Abscess,” doctors at Adelaide and Meath Hospital in Ireland write that this is the “first reported case of semen injection for use as a medical treatment.”

A rash and abscess developed after a 33-year old man injected semen into his arm.

Adelaide and Meath Hospital 

When he injected the semen it entered his blood vessels and muscles. In turn, a X-ray revealed that he had developed an abscess in the layer of skin directly below the dermis and epidermis. The patient was given intravenous antibiotics for his infection as the red patches continued to spread down his arm. Although there was a collection of semen sitting in his forearm muscle, the patient “opted to discharge himself” before the fluid was drained. His back pain had improved during his stay at the hospital, and it was time to go home.

In an effort to understand why a person would think it’s a good idea to inject semen into their arm to treat chronic back pain, the doctors performed a comprehensive search of medical literature to see if this had happened before. They found nothing — just experimental cases from the 1940s in which human semen was injected into rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs to see whether semen contained “substances which would have a beneficial action on the female genital organs.” No beneficial action occurred.

X-rays of the man's arm revealed an abscess. 

Adelaide and Meath Hospital 

They then performed a “search of more eclectic internet sites and forums,” because it’s well established that the internet is full of bad medical advice. They couldn’t find anyone, anywhere recommending injecting an arm with semen in an effort to relieve back pain. The patient, now gone, was unique in his vision.

The possible medicinal effects of semen, which is about one percent sperm, are frequently discussed online. Most of these articles are concerned with what happens if you consume it. Studies have demonstrated that it contains vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, calcium, potassium, vitamin B12, and zinc. But the levels of these compounds vary depending on the man, and these nutritious elements don’t come in a high enough concentration to actually do anything.

Semen can also transfer sexually transmitted diseases and has been found capable of hosting up to 27 different viruses. Perhaps ideally, semen ends up in a condom. It should never end up injected into your arm. If you have longstanding back pain, you should talk to your doctor about the variety of treatment options available. There are injection-based treatments that can help, albeit of a different sort.

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