The 25-year-old man, who has not been named, sought medical help when he noticed blood in his urine and revealed to doctors he had inserted the thermometer into his urethra days before.
Having waited 11 days before seeking treatment, the man initially attempted to remove the device himself but stopped when it became clear this wasn’t possible.
In a case report published in the journal Urology Case Reports, the man was forced to confess to doctors at Tongren Hospital in Shanghai what he had done, admitting that he expected ‘extraction of the thermometer spontaneously’.
Dr Haining Qian and their colleagues eventually managed to remove the object in a similar way to how they would tackle kidney stones, inserting a thin tube with a camera attached into the man’s urethra.
From there, they were able to see where the thermometer was lodged and forceps which were attached to the tube allowed doctors to twist the object around so it could be manoeuvred out of the man’s body.
The urologists then ‘tugged’ at the thermometer and ‘fished’ it out. As per the medical journal: ‘Gentle action was taken out to prevent the thermometer from fracture and to prevent bladder wall layer injury.’
No obvious bleeding occurred throughout the procedure, which lasted approximately 15 minutes. The patient was discharged the following day, but needed a catheter for three days.
Doctors believe the thermometer was able to reach his bladder because whenever the man attempted to urinate, the contractions would push the object deeper into his body.
Luckily, the thermometer was not damaged and the bladder’s wall was intact; if the mercury had leaked from the device, it would have been detrimental to the man’s kidney function and central nervous system.
Although doctors did not reveal why the 25-year-old decided to insert the thermometer into his urethra, urologists have witnessed similar cases in which the motivation has been sexual pleasure.
As per VICE, inserting thin rods into the urethra for sexual pleasure is a well-established fetish, known as sounding. Sounding can provide heightened sensation and pleasure, and can also be used for control in a domination/submission situation.
However, with the fetish comes a high risk of infection, injury, and potential trauma and so medical experts suggest anyone thinking of engaging in the practice must use sterile, smooth, shatter-proof instruments – in other words, not a thermometer.
They also urge everyone to visit a doctor and be honest with them if something goes wrong.