This amateur marathon runner was racing to the finish line — and a potentially deadly health complication could have ended him.
A 44-year-old man from Slovakia, who has not been publicly identified, said he developed a painful lump on his penis the day after a long run, according to a case study published in Urology Case Reports.
The lump turned out to be a potentially fatal blood clot that could have spread to his lungs if not treated.
In addition to the lump, the man said he’d been getting erections randomly, but waited two days to seek medical attention.
An MRI from Bory Hospital in Bratislava showed that he had an 18mm-wide blood clot in the corpus cavernosa, the tubes in the penis that fill with blood and make men erect.
They prescribed him blood thinners and painkillers and a week later, he reported having no more pain. However, his blood clot remained.
They injected him with medicine to keep the clot from growing in size, and six months later the clot got smaller.
Three years later, his clot was still detected but did not cause him any symptoms.
A clot in the corpus cavernosa is rare and has only been reported 56 times, most commonly among men under 30.
Things like running, sexual activity, drug or alcohol abuse and health issues like sickle cell anemia, characterized by a shortage of red blood cells, or thrombophilia, which means blood has an increased tendency to clot, could cause it to occur
Even though blood clots can form from inactivity, excessive running can lead to clots in the legs.
They can be caused by tissue strain and dehydration or the inactivity after training which can cause the blood to thicken.
Sometimes doctors will perform surgery on a clot, but painkillers and blood thinning medications have a similar result.