An anonymous dude calling himself RLS is claiming, via a very widely circulated story originating on BroBible, that he's got only 100 erections left before his penis gets so scarred on the inside that it won't work anymore. "I'm 34 years old and I have a finite amount of real, working, orgasm-capable erections remaining. They estimate I have about a hundred nuts left," he wrote in an email to BroBible.
While it would make a good elevator pitch for the next Kevin James movie, his claim doesn't make much medical sense according to Dr. Richard Santucci, director of the Center for Urologic Reconstruction at Detroit Medical Center. "I'm sorry he has this problem, but it's probably true that some of the message was bungled," he said in a phone interview. "Nobody knows how many erections he has left. It might be a million, and it might be three."
While the implausible condition isn't outside all medical logic—for reasons we'll get to in a minute—Santucci maintains that a "responsible doctor" would never proffer an estimate about how many times a patient will get a boner. "That's not a concept that exists in biology," he said.
RLS didn't answer emails requesting comment.
"I've now seen the full battery of experts and specialists," RLS wrote to BroBible. He claims his condition is called "ideopathic fibrosis of the corpora cavernosa." The " ideopathic" part just means the condition is unexplained.
"Fibrosis of the corpora cavernosa," meanwhile, has another name: Peyronie's disease. "There's an inner sheath in your penis that fills with blood, and that's what gets hard, the way a tire gets hard, except full of blood, not air. And that will get scarred and bent. That's called Peyronie's disease, and it's very common," Santucci said.
Peyronie's can be debilitating, but it's not necessarily a death sentence for your penis, according to Santucci. "It might go very slowly, and it might go very fast, and it's highly treatable. He's never tried Cialis. He's never tried Viagra. He could try a penile prosthesis," he said.
However, one component of RLS's claim that makes it unique is an autoimmune component that he claims is present. "Every time I get hard it causes an autoimmune reaction, which causes a scar tissue buildup in the reservoir. Ultimately, the scar tissue will make it impossible to ever get a boner again," RLS wrote. "I'm the first case anyone's ever seen, and no one can tell me why it's happening. I don't wear briefs or hang out in saunas. There's been no blunt force trauma to the balls."
"If you ever meet a person who says they have a disease no one else has ever had, walk away," Santucci said. An autoimmune connection to Peyronie's is actually not unheard of, however. A 13-year-old study by the International Journal of Impotence Research found signs of unwanted autoimmune responses in as many as 75.8 percent of patients with Peyronie's disease.
Santucci did say the remark about blunt force trauma to the balls is a pure non sequitur. "Those are two separate issues. It's like saying, 'My left leg hurts, but I never got hit in my right leg.' They're two different things."
Working in Santucci's profession often requires this kind of myth-busting. "If you're a urologist, it's ridiculous enough already, so we try to add a patina of propriety," he told me. The doctor doesn't blame the anonymous man for potentially bungling "[RLS] has been given a message, and it can be very difficult to interpret complex medical information."
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