Signs your penis could be signaling health issues

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Signs your penis could be signaling health issues

Men pay attention to your penis.  It could be trying to tell you something about your health.  Of course, for most men, when their penis acts up - and not in a good way - it does get their attention. But don’t ignore it thinking the problem(s) will go away.  Not only it could be a signal spelling trouble for your sex life but it could also be an early warning sign of possibly heart disease, diabetes, or even cancer.

Since many men tend not to go get regular checkups, especially younger men, what often will prompt them to make an appointment with their doctor is when their penis is having problems.  Here are sexual issues forewarning men of the need to have a talk with their doc to see how to make his man part work up-to-par once again:

·      Erectile dysfunction (ED)

Maybe you think only old men get ED but think again.  About one in four men seeking help for ED are under 40.  When a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection firm enough for sex more than half of the time, it is recognized as ED.

In young men, ED is often related more to a psychological issue.  It could be performance anxiety, stress, relationship problems or depression.  One way to know if the cause of ED in a young man is due to psychological issues is if he is still experience nocturnal erections. However, if you are not having erections during sleep then performance problems may be due to an undiagnosed health condition.   The penis has some of the smallest blood vessels in the body so if a man has blocked vessels or arteriosclerosis, it can be affected by this cardiovascular issue.

Other conditions that can either cause or be related to ED are kidney disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, being overweight, lack of exercise and being out of shape, and nerve injuries.

What to do – Visit your urologist.  They can evaluate and review your health with a physical exam to rule out any underlying health issues.  If none are found, then making lifestyle changes of improving eating habits, exercise, and prescribing ED medications such as Viagra or Cialis can get your sex life going again.  Other suggestions could include using a penile pump which is a vacuum device applied directly to the penis to increase blood flow or the use of topical medications.

·      Low testosterone

Low testosterone can sneak up on you.  You may chalk up low energy levels, a low sex drive, and weight gain as signs of getting older.  In reality, you probably have low testosterone or low T. By the time a man hits age 45 four out of 10 men will have low T.  But even younger men and boys can develop this.  Examples of causes of low T occurring at young ages could be a sports injury or blow to the testes, pituitary gland problems, or chemotherapy or radiation for cancer treatment can sometimes lead to a reduction in testosterone production as well.

What to do – Again, a visit to your urologist is required to get a proper diagnosis.  All it takes is a simple blood test to determine if you have low T or not and if it is caused by an androgen deficiency.  Lifestyle changes of increasing exercise, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep can help alleviate some symptoms. But most likely a man will need to be more effectively treated for low T with testosterone shots, pills, pellets, or patches prescribed by a doctor.  Since there can be some risk associated with taking testosterone, your doctor needs to assess your overall health before prescribing this medication. 

·      Testicular cancer

The most commonly diagnosed cancer in young men aged 18 to 40 is testicular cancer.  A lump or mass on the testicles can be a sign of this disease making it imperative for all men of all ages to perform a monthly self-check of their testicles.  When performing this exam, notice any change in the size or shape of the testicles. 

What to do – When caught early, testicular cancer is highly curable – up to 99%.  Treatment for this cancer is easy and usually does not present any long-term problems with sexual performance or fertility.

If a testicle is removed, a prosthetic can be placed within the scrotum after treatment.  This helps address cosmetic concerns along with restoring sexual confidence.

·      Injury to the penis

The penis is in a vulnerable position for a possible likelihood of injury.  Injuries often are the result of a sporting event making it a good reason to wear a protective cup.  If a man has had a blow to his penis and a lump forms a few weeks later, this could be the build-up of scar tissue, called plaque which has a name of Peyronie’s disease.  This condition can cause pain during erections, ED, and curvature of the penis making sex difficult or painful.

What to do – If the case is mild, there is an FDA- approved drug called collagenase prescribed under the name Xiaflex that helps break down scar tissue that causes the curvature.  More severe cases of Peyronie’s disease require microsurgery to straighten the curvature. 

·      Premature ejaculation (PE)

According to the American Urological Association, premature ejaculation is the most common male sexual disorder affecting 21 percent of men ages 18 to 59 in the United States.  Premature ejaculation is when a man has an orgasm sooner than he wishes resulting in feelings of frustration and reduced fulfillment for him and his partner.  Some men can experience both ED and PE.

There can be many possible causes of PE – depression, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationship problems, too much or too little foreplay, self-confidence issues, guilt, lack of consistent stimulation, and alcohol consumption.

What to do – A talk with a urologist is where to begin.  They can help advise how applying gentle pressure to the base of the penis can help delay ejaculation.