Many men aren’t keen on going to the doctors and put off seeking medical advice until a health problem starts to interfere with their life – in terms of work, family life, sports or socialising: in addition, busy lives mean that making time to see a health professional can be difficult. Some men feel embarrassed or ashamed about admitting to having health problems, or just dislike talking about medical matters. Other issues, such as a fear of getting a serious diagnosis and not wanting to cause a fuss, lead many men to put off seeing their doctor because they feel that keeping a stiff upper lip is important, hoping that the problem may go away on its own.
Although certain conditions do go away in their own time, in other instances you really need to seek medical help sooner rather than later. If you ignore certain medical problems for too long, they creep up on you eventually – and you only make the problem more serious, both for you and those close to you who may also be affected.
Taking a sneak peek
Minor penis problems are incredibly common, and yet many men take weeks, months or sometimes years to summon up the courage to speak to a health professional about their concerns. It is a shame, because in most cases the worry and anxiety that you may have some abnormality or that you’re somehow different, can be avoided. Reassuringly, most penis conditions are minor and may not even need treatment.
Rectifying problems with your penis
Physical problems – things to do with appearance – with regard to your penis can cause a huge amount of concern, particularly if you belong to a younger age group. Many penile problems such as minor skin changes are often entirely benign and part of what you can consider as ‘normal’.
If you are worried about the look of your penis or you’ve developed a new problem, compare your symptoms with the following descriptions, starting with the more common ones:
- Balanitis or thrush: If the tip of your penis (the glans) is red and inflamed you’re likely to be suffering from an irritation of the skin, known as balanitis. You’re more likely to develop balanitis if you suffer from diabetes or take oral antibiotics.
- Friction soreness: A sore penis after sexual activities is a common problem. Usually, this soreness is due to your penis rubbing inside or against your partner’s body, but can also be a reaction to the material used in condoms. Your symptoms usually settle quickly by themselves, but try using a different brand of condom if you suspect this problem is the cause. To help prevent soreness, make sure that you both take your time to get aroused enough before attempting penetration. Alternatively, use plenty of lubricating jelly, which can work wonders.
- Sexually transmitted infection: If you’ve had unprotected sexual intercourse and have developed sores, blisters or ulcers on your penis, you may have a sexually transmitted infection, or STI for short. Avoid sexual intercourse until you identify the underlying problem.
- Genital warts: You may be suffering from genital warts if you notice hard, wart-like lumps on the skin of your penis. These lumps are caused by a virus infection, can grow quite fast and may be transmitted through sexual contact. See your sexologist for further assessment and treatment.
Many other conditions can affect your penis, so if you’re concerned make an appointment with a sexologist to get your problem checked out. And don’t be too embarrassed: these issues are day-to-day stuff for your doctor and other health professionals.