You only get one penis, and like every other part of the body it needs to be taken care of. Not just to safeguard your sex life, but to ensure good overall health. Luckily, figuring out how to keep your penis healthy and strong isn’t that hard. Eating well, staying active and practicing safe sex and proper hygiene are the core components. Here’s everything you need to know to take care of your penis, and the most common things that can go wrong with it.
What does a normal penis look like?
There’s a wide range of “normal” when it comes to penises. Whether circumcised or uncircumcised, penises come in all lengths, girths and colours. Many penises also have veins running through them, which can give them a bumpy or veiny appearance in certain areas. There’s even variation when it comes to the directions they point in. So unless a doctor has told you otherwise, your penis is probably normal.
How to take care of your penis
In addition to eating well and exercising, there are a couple of crucial things every man should do to care for his penis. The first is to maintain a healthy penis head and shaft with proper hygiene. Luckily, this is easy to do by washing the area with warm water once a day.
The other key aspect of penis health is safeguarding yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Get vaccinated against STIs such as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and practice safe sex by using condoms with new sexual partners. And in case of a suspected penis infection, seek treatment immediately. Yes, it can seem embarrassing, but most issues get worse with time, not better.
Penis conditions & diseases
Any sudden changes in the appearance or function of the penis — problems with the skin such as a change in colour or texture, or the development of a rash, for example, should be discussed with a doctor. Here are some of the most common penis health problems and their treatments.
This largely unknown, but surprisingly common penile disorder is thought to affect up to nine percent of Canadian men, usually after the age of 40. With Peyronie’s disease, the penis often becomes misshapen or bent over time, and many sufferers report feeling pain in their penis. Other symptoms can include a shortening of the penis, an hourglass shape in part of the shaft, and erectile dysfunction. This is the result of a buildup of plaque inside the walls of the penis which causes scar tissue. Doctors don’t fully understand the underlying causes of Peyronie’s disease however. Treatment can involve injections or surgery.
Phimosis is a problem affecting uncircumcised penises. It happens when a man or a boy isn’t able to pull down the foreskin covering the head of his penis. While a boy normally isn’t really able to retract his foreskin until about the age of seven, phimosis later in life is an issue. Being unable to retract the foreskin causes problems cleaning the penis. This can result in penile skin infections and even cysts. Phimosis can also make urinating or getting an erection difficult. Treatment varies from applying topical creams to daily manual retraction of the foreskin. For those experiencing chronic issues, doctors will likely recommend circumcision.
Priapism is a type of erectile dysfunction. It happens when blood gets trapped in the penis, resulting in a sustained and usually painful erection. Priapism can be brought on by some drugs and medications, or certain underlying health conditions such as sickle cell anemia. In all cases it requires immediate medical treatment.
Sexually transmitted infections aren’t always obvious. While some like herpes produce visual signs like blisters or sores on the penis head or shaft, many don’t. In those cases, signs might include pain or burning while urinating, or itching in the penis area.
Even if you do have an obvious lesion, it can be difficult to determine whether a growth in the genital area is harmless or a symptom of an infected penis. Genital warts, for example, can look a lot like a blood blister on the penis. So have anything out of the ordinary examined by a doctor, but try not to freak out immediately if you find something weird.
A torn frenulum
The frenulum is the thin string connecting the foreskin to the penis shaft. It can sometimes tear during sexual activity, which can be painful. While there’s usually no reason to seek medical care for this, you’ll likely want to abstain from sex until it heals. Using lubricant during sexual activity will help to limit the risk of it happening again.
Inflammation or infection of the skin on the head of the penis is called Balanitis. It can cause a white or yellow, cottage cheese-like discharge, a red penile rash on the shaft and/or head of the penis, and an itching or burning sensation. Balanitis occurs more often in uncircumcised men, but can also affect circumcised men. Luckily, the condition is usually easy to treat with over-the-counter solutions.
Commonly asked questions
We know that penis health-related questions can be embarrassing, so we’ve collected some of the most common. We’re answering them so you don’t have to ask.
- Wondering how to decrease penis sensitivity? You’re not alone! Premature ejaculation is a common concern for many men. There are a number of topical solutions that you can put on the penis before sex to decrease sensitivity. In other cases, counselling or pelvic floor exercises can be useful. Speak to a doctor for a complete range of ideas on dealing with this.
- How do I increase sensitivity in my penis and glans (penis head)?
On the flip side, a number of men struggle with how to increase their penis’ sensitivity. While it’s estimated that only one quarter of men achieve orgasm regularly in their sexual encounters, some men find it difficult or impossible to achieve orgasm even with prolonged stimulation. This can be brought on by alcohol, drugs and certain medications, or the underlying cause can be psychological or physiological. Medical intervention is often necessary to figure out the root cause as this will help dictate treatment.
- Why is there blood in my sperm? Whether you’re finding blood in your semen but not in your urine, or in both, if it’s a one-off, it’s probably nothing to be scared of. But if you’re seeing blood in your semen on a regular basis, you need to speak with a doctor. The most common causes of regular bloody penis discharge are injury to the penis or an STD, but in rare cases it can be a sign of penile cancer.
- Why do I keep getting boners for no reason? This is pretty much a rite of passage for every teenage boy. Hormone levels are to blame, and the condition will usually get better with time. Nighttime or early morning erections are also normal regardless of age, but usually not considered an issue.
Talking about it might be embarrassing, but penis health is too important to go unaddressed. Penis problems don’t just impact your sexual and reproductive health. They can also affect your physical and mental health. Take care of your penis and talk to a doctor if you’re feeling like something isn’t right