Concerned Girlfriend

Friday, June 18, 2010

Question

My boyfriend of a year has developed a painful bump on the underside of his penis just below the head. He has been to his doctor, who determined it wasn't due to an STD. The doctor said he has done some damage to a vein. He advised my boyfriend to stop masturbating for a few days and hope it does away. It hasn't. My boyfriend is reluctant to go back to his doctor because he made him feel uncomfortable. (The doctor suggested my boyfriend had injured himself by being "too kinky.") For the record, we aren't particularly rough when having sex, and my boyfriend can't remember a specific incident (either with me or masturbating) that caused the injury.

Do you know where we can find a doctor or specialist in our area that might make my boyfriend more comfortable, and offer a better solution than "wait and hope it goes away"? Also, how do I reassure my boyfriend? He's scared that he might need surgery, or that the damage is permanent.

Answer

Wow, how offensive. I can see why your boyfriend doesn't want to go back to that doctor. I can't believe he immediately assumed that the bump was the result of kinky sex. That tells us quite a bit about HIS repressed sex life, doesn't it? But the fact is that your boyfriend may very well have done nothing at all to cause the swelling.

I'm not a medical person, so I can't diagnose this condition—especially since there is no way to actually look at his body. But I am wondering if maybe there isn't just a weakness in the wall of one of the veins or capillaries in his penis. Sex organs have more blood vessels in them than other parts of the body. If one of the blood vessels had a weak spot, he would have a sort of internal, painful bruise. I am unsure how a doctor would fix such a thing, but I do know that waiting is NOT making it get better.

I often get requests for the names of sex-positive doctors in various areas. Unfortunately, I don't have a referral I can give you. But you can talk to a doctor, and if you feel they are ignorant or not helpful or insulting, leave and go see somebody else. He might want to see a urologist. But a decent general practitioner should be at ease enough with the genitals to figure this out. They can do a scan to get more information if a visual exam isn't enough. Just be persistent. Your boyfriend (and you) deserve to have his penis back in good order!

One of the toughest things to do is be your own patient advocate. Remember that the doctor is working for you. He or she is your employee, and can be fired, just like a plumber or a cook. That MD doesn't mean "beyond criticism" or "omniscient." Doctors have gaps in their knowledge, make mistakes, have prejudices, and lack good manners, sometimes. Today they are pressured to spend as little time with a patient as possible. If they can give you a brief answer and send you home, they will assume that you, too, feel the problem is not that significant. So you have to stand your ground. Demand a more detailed exam, a second opinion, or a referral to a specialist. Don't be bullied or ignored. The doctor may not like this. But it's better to be a pain in the doctor's behind than it is to continue to have a pain in your penis!