The Penis: What You Need To Know
Scientifically, the penis is a male organ whose primary functions are sexual reproduction and urination. The penis is located right above the scrotum (the bag that holds the testicles). It is made up of spongy tissue and blood vessels, therefore it is not a muscle.
Parts of a penis
The penis is divided into three parts. They are:
- The base
- The shaft
- The glans
This part is also referred to as the bulb or the root of the penis. It is the part of the penis that is right above the scrotum. Externally, it looks like a ridge on the shaft of the penis. It is made up of a lot of tissue and from it the internal structure of the penis begins.
This part has three columns of tissue running through it. The first two columns are referred to as the corpus cavernosum. These two columns are located on the sides of the penis and are covered by the skin. The other column is the corpus spongiosum. Just like the name suggests, it is a sponge-like tissue. It is located between the two columns (corpus cavernosum). All these tissues fill up with blood and lead to an erection. The urethra is found in the corpus spongiosum. The purpose of the urethra is to transport semen during ejaculation and urine out of the body.
The glans is commonly known as the head or tip of the penis. It contains the opening of the urethra and if uncircumcised, it will have a protective layer referred to as the foreskin.
How to take care of a penis
Just like any other part of the body, the penis needs to be taken care of. You only get one in a lifetime. You can take care of it by:
Washing it everyday
You can use unscented soap and water on this one. Be gentle as you wash it too, it is a delicate organ. If you are uncircumcised, you can pull back the foreskin gently and clean underneath it. This helps in getting rid of smegma. Avoid scrubbing the area as you do this to avoid any inflammation. Once you are done washing underneath the foreskin, pat dry then return the foreskin to its initial position.
NOTE: One does not have to wash the foreskin of a baby. This is because, the foreskin of your baby is still attached to the glans. With time it will loosen up and separate by itself. This is fully achieved during puberty.
Have good hygiene habits
Apart from washing it everyday, there are other hygiene practices you can incorporate. Such are:
- Washing your hands before you handle your penis. Your penis is really sensitive and anything can irritate it. Remember, your hands touch a lot of bacteria in your daily activities.
- Wash your underwear well and sun-dry it. Drying your underwear in the bathroom or bedroom leaves them damp for a while. This is good breeding ground for bacteria. Drying your underwear in the sun allows the sun rays to kill off present bacteria in the wet or damp clothing. It also helps eliminate the smell that comes along with damps clothes.
- As you wash your penis, you can also focus on cleaning between your thighs and the base of the penis. Sweat can accumulate in these parts. Additionally, you can focus on the area between your anus and the scrotum otherwise known as the perineum. This helps in eliminating any bacteria due to faecal matter. Last but not least, wash between your butt cheeks. Avoid douching as it removes both dirt and good bacteria and fungi necessary for your system.
Your heart is not the only organ that benefits from exercising you know. Science has proven that a regular exercise routine reduces the chances of getting erectile dysfunction. Incorporate pelvic floor exercises to your routine. These are inclusive of Kegel exercises and aerobics. Kegels help in maintaining an erection, reducing urinary and bowel incontinence, eliminating dribble after urination and improves your sexual experiences.
Aerobics on the other hand help in reducing symptoms of erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is associated with blood flow problems to the penis due to conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and vascular disease. Aerobics keeps these in check and by extension will benefit your penis.
Stay away from tobacco and alcohol
Your penis has blood vessels in it that fill up with blood to make it erect. When you smoke cigarettes (tobacco) the blood vessels in your body get damaged. This is inclusive of the blood vessels in your penis. When your blood vessels are damaged, blood flow is affected. As a result, one gets erectile dysfunction.
Alcohol on the other hand acts as a sedative when consumed affecting the Central Nervous System. It interferes with communication between the brain and the penis. On normal occasions, when one is sexually aroused, the brain sends a message to the penis and an erection occurs. Alcohol interferes with this communication and hence getting an erection is hard. Other than that, alcohol reduces production of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a necessary hormone in the male body, inclusive of getting and maintaining an erection.
Get support if you need help quitting alcohol and smoking.
Practice safe sex
Unprotected sex with multiple partners poses the risk of contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). It is therefore encouraged to use condoms as a safety measure in your sex escapades.
You definitely want to avoid health conditions that will directly or indirectly affect the health and performance of your penis. Therefore consume foods and drinks that will boost the general health of your body.
Pay attention to your mental health. Whenever you are stressed, practice stress management techniques. Stress is a triggering factor for chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure. Such techniques are inclusive of:
- taking long deep breathes
- counting numbers slowly
- listening to soothing music
- talking to someone
- taking a walk
In case of depression, consult with your doctor if your medication gives you side effects that affect your penis’ erection.
How do you know if something is wrong?
You can tell if something is wrong with your penis if you:
- have problems maintaining an erection
- experience a burning sensation when urinating
- have a discharge that is yellow or green
- have a rash, bumps or lesions on your penis or surrounding parts
- bleed when urinating or ejaculating
- feel pain when you have an erection
- experience pain after trauma to your penis
- have a bent penis that causes you pain or interferes with your sexual activity
Do not be afraid to consult a doctor if you notice any changes.