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March 29, 2022 • read
How to keep your penis healthy and strong
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 what is considered “normal” when it comes to penises. Whether circumcised or uncircumcised, they come in all lengths, girths, and colours.
Many also have veins running through them, which can give them a bumpy or veiny appearance in certain areas when the penis is erect. There’s even variation when it comes to the directions they point in, resulting in penile curvature. So unless a doctor has told you otherwise, yours is probably normal.
Penis disorders and symptoms
Any sudden changes in penis function or appearance 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 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, giving it a penile curvature, 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, but the underlying causes of Peyronie’s disease aren’t fully understood. 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 back 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 when it comes to cleaning. 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 gentle manual retraction of the foreskin. For those experiencing chronic issues, healthcare providers will likely recommend circumcision.
Priapism can cause erectile dysfunction. It happens when blood gets trapped, resulting in a sustained and usually painful erect penis. There are two kinds of priapism — ischemic — often caused by sickle cell anemia or other hematological diseases — and non-ischemic — most often caused by trauma to the penis. Non-ischemic priapism often resolves on its own, however, ischemic priapism causes can lead to irreversible cell death. This is why you should seek urgent medical care to rule the ischemic type out.
Sexually transmitted infections aren’t always obvious. While some like genital herpes produce visual signs like blisters or sores developing 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. STIs can also be the cause of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in men.
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 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, head, or both, and an itching or burning sensation. Balanitis occurs more often in uncircumcised men, but can also affect circumcised men. Luckily, there are penis infection treatments for this condition with over-the-counter solutions.
Commonly asked questions
We know that penis-related questions can be embarrassing, so we’ve collected some of the most common and are answering them so you don’t have to ask.
1. How do I decrease penis sensitivity?
Premature ejaculation is a common concern for many men, and decreasing sensitivity can help prolong the time it takes to ejaculate.
There are a number of topical solutions that you can put on before sex to decrease sensitivity. In other cases, counselling, medications, or pelvic floor exercises can be useful. Speak to a doctor for a complete range of ideas to deal with this.
2. How do I increase 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.
3. 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 STI, but in rare cases, it can be a sign of penile cancer.
4. 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.
5. Is there a way to grow a bigger penis naturally?
There’s no way to actually increase penis size naturally. What you’re born with is what you get for life — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s so much pressure around having a “large penis”, but the truth is, being average-sized or on the smaller end of the scale may not matter to your partner at all.
6. What’s the reason for a smell from the penis?
There can be many causes for odours that come from the penis. Smegma — a thick, white substance that gathers under the foreskin — can build up and start to smell.
STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea and common penis infections such as balanitis can also cause penile odour. If you do notice a constant smell, it may be time for a check-up.
7. How do you increase the penis’ strength and stamina?
While you can’t do anything about your penis size, you can improve your erect penis’ strength and stamina during intercourse. Exercising frequently, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, spending more time on foreplay, and focusing on pleasuring your partner can all help.
8. How do you clean the inside of the penis?
To help prevent problems, you should gently wash your penis with warm — not hot — water each day while bathing or showering. It’s really important to have a healthy penis head and shaft.
If you’re uncircumcised, lightly pull back the foreskin and wash and dry underneath. If you want to use soap, be sure it’s mild, but don’t use too much too often because it can cause penile sensitivity, pain, or both. And, don’t forget to return the foreskin to its normal position.
9. Does it matter if you’re circumcised?
For the purposes of health, research has shown circumcised men may have a lower risk of STIs and penile cancer. When it comes to intercourse, however, there’s no real proof that penis function is affected or that intercourse feels different for partners whether you’re circumcised or not.
10. What if your penis is sore or inflamed?
This could be the result of one of many things. Balanitis is one common reason for this and can be treated with antifungal creams, antibiotics, and even improved hygiene.
Certain STIs can also cause pain or inflammation — so can dermatitis and psoriasis. If you notice any flare-ups, blisters developing, or more, it’s time to check in with a doctor.
What can I do to keep my penis healthy and prevent issues?
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to help keep your penis healthy and prevent problems, including:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy diet and weight
- Being sexually responsible
- Washing your penis daily
- Avoiding smoking
- Limiting your consumption of alcohol
- Lowering stress levels
Another way to keep your penis healthy is to stay on top of any changes. If you notice any redness, swelling, blisters developing, penis pain, changes in penis function, or more, don’t ignore these signs.
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.
With Maple, you can speak with a Canadian-licensed doctor online in minutes about a prescription or any other issues related to penis health such as trouble getting an erect penis, STIs including genital herpes, problems with penis function, common penis infections, preventing penis pain, and much more. Take care of your penis and talk to a doctor if you’re worried that something isn’t right.