Health24 emphasizes that readers must consult their local doctor or emergency room if presenting with serious symptoms, but sometimes it's impossible to get to the GP – take the case of this reader:
Q: Harsh needle-like pain (on a ship in the ocean, cannot call doctor)
I am experiencing a pain I have never had before, I am very concerned about this since I cannot call a doctor and to get myself to one will require a Helicopter flight, I am currently on a ship in the middle of the ocean.
I am including a link which you can click to view a small image that indicates where i am experiencing pain. I am a male 22 years of age, I have no allergies that I know of, I’m not overweight and have no addictions - I don’t even smoke.
The pain is (sort of) in my lower back on the right-hand side, and occasionally travels down to my groin area. The pain is harsh enough to keep me from sleeping. It built up gradually and is currently at its worst I experienced so far. I am experiencing some bad headaches and a bit of a fever as well.
Also I am experiencing another symptom that started at the same time: the foreskin of my penis has become red and sore. There is a weird ooze emitting from the tip of the penis. I have never in my life had this happen and it kind of scares me.
Things I think could have caused this: right before this began I had a tough gym session and I may have overdone it with push-ups and weights. The ship has railings to travel from deck to deck and they seem rather dirty (good place for bacteria build up), I may have gone down the deck to use the bathroom and had my hands on the railings, then touched my penis while urinating -(some sort of disease). I am urinating more regularly, I noticed.
That's all the information I can give, please will be ever grateful if you could help, urgent. You're my only hope right now to finding out what is wrong with my body. Thanks much in advance.
Expert: I am sorry to say but it sounds very much like you have a STI (sexually transmitted infection). You will have to get blood tests, as well as a microscopy culture and sensitivity done of the discharge. You will need a course of antibiotics. Is there any medication or antibiotics on the ship? If so, provide me with the names of the antibiotics, in order for me to direct you in the right direction.
In the interim, drink as much water as possible, and even have a couple of beers.
Use the STI tool to find all the facts
The STI most men get and don’t even know about
(Joanne Hart, Health24, November 2011)