When most men hear the term penis health, they typically think about issues with erectile dysfunction, the process of getting and maintaining an erection. There are, however, many other types of penis health issues that can impact a man’s sexual and overall well being. Some can be treated at home, while others may require professional medical intervention.
A common penis health issue, particularly in teen boys and men who are not circumcised, is called balanitis. Signs of this condition include swelling, redness and inflammation around the head of the penis and the foreskin. There may also be pain at the site and an unpleasant discharge. When only the foreskin is impacted, the condition might be referred to as posthitis. While this can be the result of inadequate cleaning of the area, it may also be caused by an underlying medical condition or the buildup of soap that is not adequately rinsed during showering.
Medical conditions that can lead to balanitis include diabetes and a rare form of arthritis. A number of different types of infection may also be the culprit. These could be fungal, viral or bacterial in nature. Sexually transmitted infections may also be associated with increased risk of this condition. If treated in a timely fashion, balanitis should require only medical ointments and attentive cleaning to heal completely.
Three painful penis health issues can become evident during sexual intercourse. These are Peyronie’s disease, paraphimosis and priapism. These conditions are not only embarrassing and painful, but can be related to other health conditions that require attention.
Peyronie’s disease is a complex issue that is more commonly referred to as penile curvature. When the penis is erect, a curve appears which may be painful to some men. It is most typically caused by the presence of scar tissue under penile skin. This tissue may have developed after surgery in the area, or after a penile injury such as an intercourse fracture. There is some evidence to suggest that genetics plays a role in the likelihood of experiencing Peyronie’s disease, but more research is required in this area.
Aside from the obvious curve, men may also feel significant pain, particularly during penetration. The penis may also appear thinner or shorter than it truly is. Treatment can involve steroid injections, shock wave treatment or surgery. While Peyronie’s is quite rare, professional medical assistance is vital to achieving positive outcomes with this condition.
A particularly painful condition, paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin gets stuck behind the head of the penis. It can become serious if blood flow is impeded for a long enough period that tissue death begins to occur. Sometimes a simple ice pack will be enough to bring the swelling down and encourage the foreskin to go back to its rightful position. In more extreme cases, injections or surgery may be required.
Priapism occurs when a man’s erection will not go away. While this may seem interesting at first, it is a serious medical issue that can cause significant pain and penis health issues. It does not always occur because of sexual contact and is actually the result of blood being unable to flow away from the penis. Timely treatment is necessary to prevent damage to penile tissues that could impact future sexual function. Contributing factors to priapism include drug use, spinal cord injury, blood disorders and associated treatments for erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is a complex penis health issue with multiple possible causes. These may be hormonal, psychological, or associated with other health conditions such as diabetes or heart problems. There are many available treatments if a man is unable to obtain or maintain an erection. The key is to identify the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan from that point.
In addition to these few problems that we have addressed here, there are also other penis health issues that men need to be educated on. Some of these include, sexually transmitted diseases, small penis syndrome and premature ejaculation.