Doctors in southeastern China have removed dozens of metal balls from a teenager’s body after he pushed them into his penis "out of curiosity".
The 13-year-old, known only as Lin, had 29 magnetic balls removed from his penis by a team of surgeons earlier this month at Xi'an Children's Hospital in the capital of China's north-western Shaanxi Province, according to numerous Chinese media reports.
Remarkably, the boy had been living with the magnetic balls in his body for three months, but he was too embarrassed to seek medical attention.
“Roughly three months ago, while the boy was playing with the magnetic balls, he lined them up in a row and inserted them up his urethra out of curiosity,” said Zhang Yanyan, a urologist who treated the boy, according to The Daily Mirror.
"By the time he felt discomfort and tried to pull them out again, the magnets separated and some remained inside his urethra,” he added.
"During this time, the boy didn't tell his parents because he was too embarrassed, but the child admitted to experiencing abdominal pains for three months. His parents only discovered three months later when they noticed him walking with a limp and questioned him about it.”
Bizarrely, a very similar incident was recently reported in eastern China when an 11-year-old inserted 70 magnetic balls into his penis, again out of curiosity.
These two cases are not isolated, either. A study in the peer-viewed journal JRSM Short Reports – titled Putting Lead In Your Pencil – said that urologists often encounter foreign objects that have been inserted into the urethra. In one of the examples highlighted in the study, the researchers explain how one 62-year-old man had put three AAA-sized batteries up his. Also known as "cock-stuffing,” “sounding,” or “urethral play," the act is usually carried out with the hopes of seeking sexual pleasure.
Nevertheless, this act comes with a heap load of dangers, including the very real risk of physical trauma to the urethra, as well as a high risk of infection.
As Dr Jamie Wells, Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health, explains: "Bottom line: putting items where they aren't intended, could be putting your life at risk. If there is an untoward event after an ill-advised or accidental activity, then do not delay seeking emergency medical treatment.”