What a man’s penis can tell about his health

980619004

What a man’s penis can tell about his health

Men may believe it’s the condition of their heart or brain that is the barometer of their health. In reality, it’s their penis. Yes, the penis, which normally we associate with other aspects of a man’s life, this organ has quite the role of tattling on how healthy a man really is.

From its appearance to its performance, the penis has a special ability of giving out clues about a man’s health status.  Let’s take a look to see what kind of health conditions the penis is able to zero in on that man may want to discuss with their doctor:

·      Heart health

Erectile dysfunction aka ED – the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex – can be an early warning sign of current or future heart problems.  That’s because the heart and a man’s penis have a common link when it comes to atherosclerosis, a disease that causes fat to build up in the body’s arteries. 

Fatty plaques narrow the inside diameter of an artery, slowing down blood flow.  The fatty plaque in coronary arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart muscles which could lead to a heart attack.  When this same plaque builds up in the penile arteries, it can cause erectile dysfunction.

Since these plaques grow slowly, symptom may appear gradually over time.  For a man, this may mean they sometimes have ED and sometimes things work just fine.  Another symptom could be they notice it takes them longer to get an erection than usual and the erection they do get is either weak or more difficult to sustain.  Each of these symptoms are warning signs.  Once a man begins experiencing ED, he should see his primary care physician as soon as possible to look into the possibility of him having CVD.

Regardless of their age, any man having ED, could indicate a higher future risk of CVD.  Doctors should use this information to identify men by always asking them if they are experiencing ED and from there, use this information to intensity cardiovascular risk prevention strategies

·      Mental health

They say your brain is your biggest sex organ – if a man’s mind is messing with him, this can affect the functioning of his penis.

From premature ejaculation to ED, if a doctor has ruled out physical causes, there could be a psychological issue at play. Men experiencing depression, anxiety, and stress can all make it difficult for men to perform sexually, along with poor relationship issues. Even if penis problems are related to psychological matters, sometimes treatments for mental health can make matters worse. Antidepressants may lower a man’s sex drive making it difficult to maintain an erection and reach orgasm. Add in any drug and alcohol abuse, and performance difficulties raise dramatically. 

As difficult as it may be, men dealing with mental health problems need to discuss this in-depth with their doctor.  Seeking and finding the right help can make a world of difference to resolving this issue and gaining back their sex life.

·      Sexual health

A man with lumps and bumps on their penis is not unusual.  From noticeable blood vessels, pimples, and pearly penile papules (small, pearl-like bumps), are just a few of the outwardly things a man may notice on his penis.  In most cases, they are nothing to worry about.

But, if the lumps or bumps are painful, suddenly appeared very quickly or there’s an open or weeping sore, guys need to call their doctor right away. It’s possible it could be a sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes. However, even lumps and bumps that don’t hurt should be checked out as they could indicate genital warts, syphilis or molluscum contagiosum (a viral skin infection) and need treatment.

Besides health issues related to sex, men who find a bump or lump on their penis may automatically assume it penile cancer. However, the odds are low for cancer, especially if a man is circumcised. The rate of penile cancer in the U.S. is actually quite low – about 1 in 100,000 men per year.

Men, who find unusual bumps, lumps or other skin conditions with his penis, should an accurate diagnosis and treatment. 

·      Penis health

Then there are the health issues that directly affect a man’s penis.  One in particular is called Peyronie’s disease, a disorder in which scar tissue within the penis causes a curvature. Usually a man will notice this disorder as there will be a noticeable curve or bend in his penis. A curvature greater than 30 degrees is considered to be severe and will likely interfere with a man’s ability to have sexual intercourse.  Peyronie’s disease needs to be checked out by a doctor as it could mean possible implications for heart health but he could also injure his penis.

Another condition affecting the penis is priapism. Priapism is probably not a commonly known male condition but any man who has ever experienced it will tell you he never wants to have it again.  Excruciatingly painful, priapism is when a man has an abnormal erection in which blood that engorges the penis fails to drain out. Every year emergency rooms see thousands of men with this distressing condition that if an erection lasts too long – more than 4 hours - can do permanent damage to the penis.  In fact, priapism is considered a medical emergency as it could result in a man’s ability to ever have an erection again. 

One main cause of this type of priapism is sickle cell anemia.  This is an inherited disorder known for its abnormally shaped red blood cells or sickle cells.  These cells block the blood vessels in the penis refraining blood to flow back out of an erect penis.  Another possible cause is due to taking medication for achieving an erection such as Viagra but this is considered rare. Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma have also been known to cause this type of priaspism.

Anytime an erection has lasted more than 4 hours and or a man is in excruciating pain, it is time to seek emergency care.  Depending in the cause of priapism, will determine the course of action a doctor will recommend which could include the following:

·       Draining the excess blood from the penis using a small needle and syringe helping relive pain removing oxygen-poor blood. 

·      Injecting a sympathomimetic drug into the penis constricting blood vessels carrying blood into the penis. 

·      Surgery may be performed if other treatments do not help.  This would involve rerouting blood flow so the blood flows into the penis normally.