PURPOSE The variety of foreign bodies inserted into or externally attached to the genitourinary tract defies imagination and includes all types of objects. The frequency of such cases renders these objects an important addition to the diseases of the urinary organs. MATERIALS AND METHODS We performed a computerized MEDLINE search followed by a manual bibliographic review of cross-references. These reports were analyzed and the important findings summarized. RESULTS Our review encompassed approximately 800 single case reports on foreign bodies in the English world literature published between 1755 and 1999. We structured the range of introduced objects, by referring to origin and material as well as the genitourinary organs involved. Furthermore, we noted symptomatology and diagnoses, including psychological involvement, as well as possible treatment options. CONCLUSIONS The most common motive associated with foreign bodies of the genitourinary tract is sexual or erotic in nature. The most suitable method of removing a urethral foreign body depends on the size and mobility of the object applied to the genitourinary tract. When possible, endoscopic and minimal invasive techniques of removal should be used. However, surgical retrieval of a foreign body may be required, particularly when there is a severe associated inflammatory reaction.