What are the types of penis disorders?
Penis disorders may affect men’s sexual life, fertility and overall well-being. Some are minor and don’t cause many issues. However, some may lead to serious emergencies. The most common penis disorders are as follows
- Balanitis (swelling, redness and infection of the head of the penis seen in uncircumcised men)
- Phimosis (tight foreskin of the penis)
- Paraphimosis (the foreskin once retracted gets stuck behind the head and cannot return)
- Priapism (a persistent, often painful erection that does not go away or lasts for more than four hours)
- Peyronie’s disease (bending of the penis during an erection due to a hard lump or plaque)
- Cancer of the penis
- Erectile dysfunction (difficult to get or keep an erection)
There are other problems too such as premature or delayed release of semen (ejaculation), semen entering the bladder instead of emerging through the penis (retrograde ejaculation), penile fracture, birth defects in which the urinary opening is not located at the tip of the penis (hypospadias), etc.
What are the causes of these penis disorders?
- Hypersensitivity to (allergy) certain products or chemicals (soaps, detergents, perfumes and spermicides)
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea (clap), herpes (shingles) and syphilis (chancre)
- Poor personal grooming
Phimosis and paraphimosis
- Birth defect
- Scar tissue formation after injury
- Posthitis (a condition that leads to scarring and tightening of the foreskin)
- Poor personal grooming habits
- Drug abuse
- Certain medications (examples antidepressants or blood pressure medicines)
- Spine disorders
- Injury to the groin area
- Administration of injections in the penis (usually given for erectile dysfunction)
- Blood diseases such as leukemia (blood cancer) and anemia (low iron in the blood)
- Injury during sexual activity
Ejaculation disorders and erectile dysfunction
- Anxiety, stress and depression during sex
- Other psychological factors such as stress and emotional or relationship conflicts
- Certain drugs such as antidepressants may lead to spine/back nerve or bladder (urine pouch) nerve damage
- Long-term health issues such as diabetes and heart disease
- Medication side effects
- Drinking alcohol
- Unhealthy habits
- Lack of exercise
There are high chances of penile cancer in men who
- Have not been circumcised
- Have human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
- Have phimosis (rigid, unretractable foreskin of the penis)
- Have unhealthy unhygienic habits
- Are receiving psoriasis treatment medications
- Are in constant exposure to ultraviolet light
- Are over the age of 50 years old
Many of these conditions can be treated and can even be prevented with good hygiene. However, some are a medical emergency.
When is it serious?
See your urologist if you have
How can penile disorders be treated?
Balanitis: Appropriate antibiotics or antifungal medications will help clear the infection. For diabetics, good control over sugar levels is a must. For severe, recurrent infections, a circumcision may be suggested. Avoiding chemicals and maintaining good hygienic measures can help prevent repeated occurrences.
Phimosis: This requires immediate medical attention and can be treated by
- Gently stretching the foreskin of the penis over a period of time.
- Taking some medications such as steroid ointments that are applied to loosen the foreskin.
- Separating the foreskin from the glans (rounded part of the penis) and preserving it which is less traumatic.
- Performing circumcision in some children completely removing the foreskin surgically.
Paraphimosis: This may occur after an erection during sexual activity. It can cause pain, swelling and impaired blood supply to the penis requiring immediate treatment including
- Applying ice to help reduce the swelling or applying pressure on the glans (rounded part of the penis) may force out blood flow.
- If this does not work, then medications are injected into the penis to help drain the penis and reduce swelling.
- In severe cases, circumcision (cutting of the foreskin) may relieve the erection.
If not treated immediately, it may lead to serious complications such as gangrene (death of the tissue) and may require amputation (removal of the penis).
Priapism: If erections are not rigid or painful, then urgent treatment may not be required. However, ischemic priapism can be an emergency. Immediate treatment is required to avoid permanent damage to the penis. It can be treated by draining the blood by using a needle inserted into the side of the penis and medications to shrink the blood vessels to reduce the blood flow to the penis. Sometimes, it may require surgery to avoid permanent damage or blood transfusion in case of anemia. Proper treatment of medical conditions or substance abuse may prevent priapism.
Peyronie’s disease: This does not need any treatment unless a man wants to have penetrative sex.
- Nonsurgical treatment
- Injecting medications directly into the plaque can soften the affected tissue and correct the bending.
- Surgical treatment
- Removing the plaque and placing new tissues treats the condition.
- Removing or pinching the side tissues of the penis can straighten the penis.
- Penile implants may be required for achieving or maintaining normal erections.
Erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders can be treated with
- Oral medications
- Kegel exercises
- Penile implants
- Penis pumps
- Testosterone (male hormone) therapy
- Using wide local excision
- By removing only the foreskin
- Using a microscope
- Using laser surgery
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Balanitis (Inflammation of the Head of the Penis)
Balanitis is a condition in which the skin of the head of the penis becomes inflamed. If the foreskin is also inflamed, it is referred to as balanoposthitis. Balanitis usually occurs in uncircumcised males with symptoms of pain, swelling, and redness at the head of the penis. Often, balanitis is caused by poor hygiene or some medical conditions such as diabetes, and yeast infections. Treatment for balanitis is directed at the cause of the condition and may include creams or other medications.
Balanitis is not an STD; however, it may have similar symptoms.
Can Erectile Dysfunction Caused By Diabetes Be Reversed?Erectile dysfunction is a frustrating condition where your penis cannot get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. There is no specific treatment to reverse damage to blood vessels caused by diabetes, there are several options to help you have erections.
How Do Guys Get Epididymitis?Epididymitis (inflammation of the testicular tube) is common in young men between the ages of 19 and 35 years old. Men often get epididymitis for various reasons that include sexually transmitted infections, other infections, blockage in the urethra, side effects from medications and trauma.
Penile ImplantsA penile implant is a treatment option for men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Penile implants may either be malleable or inflatable. Potential risks of surgical implantation of a penile implant include bleeding, infection, scar tissue formation, and mechanical failure.
Penis CancerSigns and symptoms of penile cancer include a lump on the penis and redness, irritation, or a sore on the penis. Risk of penis cancer is higher in uncircumcised men, due to a higher risk of HPV infection. Other risk factors include being over 60, having phimosis, having poor hygiene, using tobacco products, and having many sex partners. Prognosis and treatment depend upon the tumor's location and size, the stage of the cancer, and whether the cancer was recently diagnosed or if it recurred.
Penis PictureThe penis is the male sex organ, reaching its full size during puberty. See a picture of the Penis and learn more about the health topic.
Penis PumpVacuum constriction devices, or penis pumps, may be useful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (impotence). A penis pump is an acrylic cylinder with a pump that can be attached to the end of the penis. The pump then creates a vacuum to help the penis become erect, while a constriction ring maintains the erection.
Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)Peyronie's disease or curvature of the penis (Peyronie disease) is a condition in which scar tissue develops inside the penis. This scar tissue causes the penis to develop an abnormal curvature in the scarred area. At this time, there is no known cause of Peyronie's disease. Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include pain during intercourse or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), the inability to have sexual intercourse, anxiety, stress, an indentation of the shaft at the site where there is plaque or scarring, and an angulation of the penis when erect or flaccid. There is no cure for Peyronie's disease, however, there are medications that can reduce symptoms of the disease. Surgery or penile implants may be an option for severe cases.
What Causes Cracks on My Foreskin?In most instances, cracked skin may just be triggered by pre-existing skin conditions of the foreskin. Dry skin and cracks on the foreskin are generally not a cause for concern and can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) and home treatments. Clothing, dry skincare products, excess sex without adequate lubrication, allergies, yeast infection, eczema, psoriasis, balanitis and fungal and bacterial skin infections may lead to cracked foreskin.
What Happens if Varicocele Is Left Untreated?Varicocele is the engorgement of veins within the scrotum. Some cases of varicocele, if left untreated, may cause low sperm production and decreased sperm quality. This may lead to infertility.
What Triggers Balanitis and How Long Does It Last?