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Understanding and Preventing Male Genital Problems and Injuries

By Akwaowo Akpan 

Male genital problems and injuries can be a very sensitive topic, but it is essential to address the issue as it can affect overall well-being. The male genitals are vital not only for reproduction but also for sexual pleasure. Therefore, male genital problems and injuries, which can be a result of infections, inflammation, genetic conditions, or trauma, can cause significant discomfort or pain, can impact sexual function and health, and can cause immense mental stress.

In this blog, I will cover some of the common male genital problems and injuries and approaches to their management.

Common Male Genital Problems

The problems associated with the male reproductive organs can be congenital from birth or injury. The male genitalia, including the penis and scrotum, is not protected by bone and can be exposed to injuries that may include injures from recreational activity, falls, sexual activity, or work-related, such as exposure to chemicals. Here are some of the common problems.

  1. Balanitis is an inflammation of the foreskin and the head of the penis. This condition is commonly characterized by itching, pain, soreness, and discharge. Balanitis is caused by poor hygiene, soap irritation, detergents, or sexually transmitted infections. Treatment usually involves good hygiene practices, topical antifungal or steroid creams, and in severe cases, circumcision.
  2. Priapism is a persistent and usually painful erection lasting more than 4 hours. Priapism can be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as sickle cell disease, or by the use of certain medications. Considered a medical emergency, priapism should be treated immediately to avoid long-term damage.
  3. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve and sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. This can be caused by physical or psychological factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, alcoholism, and anxiety. Treatment options include medication, sexual therapy, and lifestyle changes like regular exercise and a healthy diet.
  4. Peyronie’s disease is when fibrous scar tissue develops on the penis, causing it to curve or deform. This can cause pain during intercourse and affect a man’s ability to have sex. Peyronie’s disease is commonly caused by injury or trauma to the penis. Treatment can involve medication, surgery, or a penile traction device.
  5. Testicular cancer is a malignant tumor that affects the testicles. This type of cancer is relatively rare but can develop in men of all ages. The symptoms include a lump in the testicle, pain, and swelling. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the affected testicle, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  6. Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin of the penis is tight and cannot be retracted. This can cause pain during intercourse and difficulty cleaning the penis, leading to other infections. Phimosis can be caused by inflammation or scarring. Treatment options include topical steroid creams and, in severe cases, circumcision.
  7. Jock itch is a fungal infection that affects the skin around the groin area. It causes itching, burning, and redness of the skin. This condition can be caused by sweating, tight-fitting clothing, and poor hygiene. Treatment involves antifungal creams, antifungal powder or spray, and keeping the infected area clean and dry.
  8. Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis, the tube that carries sperm from the testicles to the vas deferens. This condition can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness in the scrotum. Epididymitis can be caused by bacterial infections, including sexually transmitted or viral infections. Treatment usually involves antibiotics, pain relief medication, and rest.
  9. Testicular Torsion occurs when the testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that supplies blood to the testicle. This rotation can cause severe pain and swelling and damage the testicle if not treated promptly. Testicular torsion is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
  10. Penile cancer is a rare cancer that develops in the tissues of the penis. The symptoms include a lump or sore on the penis, bleeding, and discharge. The human papillomavirus typically causes penile cancer. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
  11. Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is a common problem in male infants where one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum. This condition can lead to fertility problems and increase the risk of developing testicular cancer later in life. Treatment options include surgery and hormone therapy, so it’s essential to consult a health professional if you suspect your child has undescended testicles.
  12. Hypospadias is a relatively common birth defect in male infants where the urethral opening is on the underside of the penis instead of the tip. This condition affects approximately 1 in 200 to 300 newborn males. Though the cause of hypospadias is still unclear, it may be linked to genetic and environmental factors. Surgery is required to correct this condition, usually around 6 to 12 months of age. If left untreated, hypospadias can result in difficulty with urination and sexual function. Fortunately, with timely surgical intervention, most boys with hypospadias can lead healthy and normal lives.

Common Injuries of the Male Genitals

●     Fracture of the penis occurs when there is a tear in the membrane that covers the erectile tissue of the penis. This can occur during vigorous sex, masturbation, or other penis-related injuries. Symptoms include swelling, pain, and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. A fractured penis requires emergency treatment and usually involves surgery.

●     Trauma to the testicles can be caused by impact or injury. This can cause pain, swelling, and tenderness in the scrotum. The treatment for this type of injury usually involves resting, pain relief medication, and ice therapy.

● Testicular rupture can be caused by a direct, forceful blow to the scrotum resulting in a tear of the scrotal sac. Severe pain and swelling of the scrotum are the primary symptoms. Treatment requires emergency surgery to protect the testicle.

●     Penile rupture occurs when there is a tear in the tissue of the penis, usually during sex or masturbation. Symptoms include severe pain, swelling, and difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. Treatment for penile rupture usually involves surgery.

●     Blood Clot in the Scrotum. Blow to the scrotum, such as by a ball during a sporting event, can cause blood clots inside the scrotum. Symptoms are severe pain and a swollen scrotum. Treatment may require drainage or removal of the clot.

●     Bruised or torn Urethra. The urethra passes from the bladder through the entire length of the penis. Urethral injury can be caused by a kick to the groin or a fall when straddling an object, such as a bike or scaling a fence. Bloody urine and trouble passing urine are the primary symptoms. Treatment depends on the location and severity of the injury but may require surgery.

Managing and Treating Male Genital Problems and Injuries  

  • It is essential to seek medical attention for any genital problems or injuries. Many genital conditions require medical treatment, and early diagnosis and treatment can often prevent further damage or complications.  
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent or manage certain genital conditions. A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress reduction techniques, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.  
  • Good hygiene is essential to prevent genital infections. Wash the genital area regularly, especially after intercourse or sweating. 
  • Practice safe sex by using a condom and avoiding multiple partners to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.  
  • Treating underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension can help prevent or manage genital problems such as erectile dysfunction.  
  • Using protective equipment during high-risk activities, such as contact sports, can help prevent genital injuries. It is also essential to wear appropriate safety gear during work-related activities that may pose a risk of injury.  
  • Communicate openly with your partner about genital problems or injuries that may affect sexual activity. Communication can help reduce anxiety and stress and improve sexual health and satisfaction. 
  • Treatment for male genital problems and injuries can include medications, surgery, and other medical interventions. It is essential to use the appropriate treatment a healthcare provider recommends to achieve the best possible outcome.

When to call the doctor

Men should seek medical attention for any sexual problems or injuries causing them distress or impairment. These include symptoms such as:

  • erectile dysfunction
  • premature ejaculation
  • painful erections or ejaculation
  • blood in urine or semen
  • testicular pain or swelling
  • genital injury or trauma
  • signs of infection, such as discharge
  • rash, or fever, especially if these symptoms are persistent and are affecting the quality of life

It is highly recommended to seek medical help from a healthcare professional, such as a Urologist or Andrologist. These specialists can perform thorough physical exams, provide appropriate diagnoses, and prescribe effective treatments to manage these sexual problems or injuries. Always seek medical help promptly to avoid further complications.

The bottom line

Male genital problems and injuries can be challenging and disruptive to daily life. However, with proper diagnosis, treatment, and management, many male genital problems and injuries can be effectively managed or treated. Seek medical attention for any genital problems or injuries and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent them or manage them effectively. Communication with your partner is crucial to ensure a healthy sexual relationship, and using appropriate safety gear can prevent genital injuries. With the proper care and attention, male genital problems and injuries can be effectively treated, and sexual function and health can be restored.

Akwaowo Akpan is a talented health writer on the topic of sexual health. You can reach him here.  

Here are some resources to learn more about male genital problems and injuries:

MyHealth Alberta: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=maleg

Seattle Children’s: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/genital-injury-male/

Family Doctor: https://familydoctor.org/symptom/genital-problems-men/

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