Intended for healthcare professionals


You're not going to give me the umbrella, are you?

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 21 December 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1287
  1. C Bradbeer, consultant,
  2. S Soni, specialist registrar,
  3. A Ekbote, senior house officer,
  4. T Martin, senior staff nurse
  1. 1Department of Genitourinary Medicine, St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH
  1. Correspondence to: C Bradbeer caroline.bradbeer{at}
  • Accepted 28 October 2006

The “umbrella test” is a longstanding urban myth that still bothers men who present for testing at sexual health clinics

Access to genitourinary clinics is a hot topic, and we have been working to encourage more men to present for screening for sexually transmitted infections. There is a long standing urban myth that men attending such clinics have to have the “umbrella test.” This myth varies little in rendition. The usual description is that something akin to a cocktail umbrella in a closed position is inserted deep into the urethra. This umbrella is then opened out and withdrawn, to the considerable discomfort of the owner of said urethra.

The origins of this myth are …

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