Penis health is a very integral part of the overall health of a man. We can therefore say that a major part of health in man is the absence of physical disease or disorder in the penis. We will be discussing the male urinary tract and some of the most common disorders that are associated with it. So, if you are affected by any of this disorder or know of someone that is affected, don’t be alarmed. The reason being, with today’s modern world, scientists and urologists have come up with several solutions to these disorders that will also be discussed.
Hypospadias is a congenital malformation of the penis. The opening of the urethra should be located on the tip of the penis, but in hypospadias, the opening develops on the underside of the penis. Since hypospadias is a birth defect parents will be the first to notice it. Some of the signs you would notice on your child are; irregular spraying when urinating, the penis has a downward curve and the urethral opening underneath or in rare cases on the scrotum. Hypospadias repair is recommended to take place between four and eighteen months of age. Treatment involves surgery done by a pediatric urologist to bring the urethra opening to the tip of the penis and in the case of a downward curve penis [chordee], it is straightened. Patients who have been treated for hypospadias proceed to have a normal sex life as adults.
Epispadias is a rare congenital abnormality that involves the urethra not fully developing. This defect causes the inability to pass urine properly from the body. Epispadias is more common in male babies and very rarely in females. A baby boy suffering from epispadias will have an abnormally shaped penis that’s short, wide, and could curve up, urethra opening on top of the penis, the bones of the pelvis are wider and, in some cases, urine will leak. In girls, epispadias is rarer but signs and symptoms include pubic bones that are separated at different degrees and urine is likely to leak with stress e.g. when coughing. Epispadias in most cases will be diagnosed during the child’s physical examination at birth. However, in mild cases, parents are likely to notice it during potty training where in most cases urine leaks. Treatment involves a few surgeries to correct the urethra pathway. There are several surgical options available for both girls and boys. Male patients after successful treatment experience normal reproductive health. Females are not at risk of infertility due to epispadias as it does not affect their internal reproductive organs.
Balanitis is the inflammation of the head of the penis. It is a treatable condition that occurs mainly in uncircumcised penises. In most cases, it is caused by a yeast infection or in other cases due to viral and bacterial infections which accumulate and grow under the foreskin. Circumcision is a good prevention measure as it involves the removal of the foreskin from the head of the penis, combined with general body hygiene. Balanitis is more common in males who practice poor hygiene, are obese, have a sexually transmitted disease. Men suffering from diabetes are also more prevalent to balanitis, as diabetes causes increased sugar levels on their skin to make it conducive for bacterial growth. Some symptoms to look out for include; inflammation of the glans, pain or irritation of penis head, redness, pain when passing urine, and a foul smell. Through physical examination, doctors can diagnose balanitis and treatment includes antibiotic medication and, in some cases, circumcision is recommended as the best option. Generally, when it comes to balanitis, prevention is better than cure. Proper hygiene should be practiced, take time to pull back the foreskin and clean the area underneath to prevent any yeast or bacteria growth. The use of condoms is recommended to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
4. Penile cancer
This is cancer of the penis where cancer cells form in the tissues of the penis. In most cases, it begins in the skin cell of the penis and may find its way inside. Like any other cancer, it is treatable especially if detected in the early stages. The specific cause has not been found but some factors such as having the human papillomavirus, weakened immunity of the body e.g., HIV, uncircumcised males have been found to increase one’s risk. Since cancer of the penis mostly begins on the skin, then most of the signs and symptoms will show on the skin. Any changes on the foreskin, penis tip, or shaft, in skin color or thickness, rush or lumps on the penis, a foul smell, or a sore on your penis should be checked out. Some of the preventive measures include; use of condoms and taking the HPV vaccine. Treatment of penile cancer depends on the stage at which it was detected. If detected in the early stages the penis stands more chances of being saved. However, if it has worked its way to the deep tissues, penectomy may be recommended which involves removal of part of the entire penis to prevent cancer from spreading further.
This is a prolonged erection of the penis that lasts for more than four hours and happens without sexual stimulation. In normal arousal, the arteries in the pelvis and penis relax and expand allowing blood into the penis and the veins close, trapping the blood causing an erection. When the excitement is over the veins open releasing the blood and the penis becomes spongy. But in priapism, the blood flow erection is painful and is not instigated by any excitement. The symptoms vary depending on the type of priapism but the general indication is an erection lasting for long hours and penile pain. This erection is an indication of a blood disorder and may be common in sickle cell anemia, leukemia, and other hematological patients. If you experience an erection lasting for more than four hours, emergency care is required as priapism is classified as a medical emergency.
Through modern science, most penile disorders are treatable. The most important thing is early detection. Any time you suspect you or a loved one is experiencing any abnormality; it is safest to have a doctor’s check. Good luck in taking care of your health, because it is clear now that health is wealth.