A penis is a fundamental part on a man’s body. Whether you are having sex, taking a shower or cleaning up, you need to be careful when handling it. A lot also depends on your food habits. If you want your penis to be healthy and function perfectly, you will have to also give up on several bad lifestyle habits.
Ronald, a university graduate, at one time resorted to masturbation because he was shy to ask girls out. “I became an addict and because of this, my penis stopped erecting. On the few occasions it did, I felt pain on the tip and it was sensitive,” he recalls.
The 25-year-old says although he has a girlfriend now, it is still difficult for him to get an erection, something that is already causing conflict in the relationship. Dr Vincent Karuhanga, a general physician at Poly Friends Clinic, says men should take extra care when dealing with the penis to avoid causing harm and sometimes irreversible effects.
Wearing tight underwear
Dr Karuhanga says tight underwear affects blood flow to the penis thereby reducing the production of sperm. “When your underwear is too tight, the testes will be pulled up. The best sperm production happens at one degree centigrade less than the body temperature. But when a man wears tight clothes, the testicles are pushed onto the body where the temperature is higher,” he explains. He adds that wearing tight underwear can also lead to squeezing of the testicles leading to pain.
Just like tight underwear and clothes, Dr Karuhanga says saunas increase temperature especially in the scrotum. This reduces sperm production and count leading to fertility problems.
Poor shaving practices
Dr Karuhanga says pubic hair reduces friction and helps to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. If shaving must be done, he recommends the use of scissors to avoid damaging the skin and leaving the hair short.
This is a very bad habit especially when a man replaces it with normal sex. This also causes bleeding in the penis. “When done vigorously, the man will produce bloody semen,” reveals Karuhanga.
Dr Karuhanga says frequent or rough masturbation can cause minor skin irritation. Forcefully bending an erect penis can rupture the chambers that fill with blood, a rare but gruesome condition called penile fracture. And with penile fractures, there is formation of scars leading to poor erection in future. “Once there is formation of scars, the area beyond the breakage does not erect properly because it does not receive enough blood and if it does, the erection is always painful,” he says.
Dr Karuhanga notes that uncircumcised men are more likely to suffer from infections which affect the head of the penis as well as the foreskin which may sometimes lead to infertility.
Also, poor hygiene causes urinary tract infections and comes with a bad odour which can lead to relationship problems especially if the partner is reluctant to be intimate.
Karuhanga says a man should make it a habit to clean the penis after sex. The fluids released during the act may be a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead of wiping it with a tissue, clean it with water.
Bending of the penis
Jonathan Kabasa, a clinical officer at Xclusive Medical Centre in Gayaza, says the penis is not designed to bend at extreme angles, especially when it is in its erect state. Do not attempt to bend the penis past 30 degrees. Kabasa also cautions men against engaging in extreme sex positions that may cause harm.
Pulling the penis
Jonathan Kabasa, a clinical officer at Xclusive Medical Centre in Gayaza, says if you think pulling your penis might increase its length, you are wrong because this has not been proven yet. And if you still feel like stretching it and do it enthusiastically, you might damage the muscles and tissues.
Washing the penis
According to thehealthsite.com, it is a good idea to keep your penis clean but not by over cleaning or washing it vigorously because that skin is delicate as there is a high chance of bruising due to friction. This, in turn can put you at risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. “Avoid using strong body washes to clean your genitals: You do not have to invest in high-end or expensive cleaning products and you can use any mild soap. Avoid using a chemical-based body wash as it might irritate your penis,” Karuhanga recommends.
What to do
Dr Vincent Karuhanga, a general physician at Poly Friends Clinic, gives the following tips.
• Cleaning the penis should only be done with soap and water no matter how dirty you think it is.
• Have a balanced diet and reduce intake of sugar and salt.
• Get enough sleep.
Dr Vincent Karuhanga, a general physician at Poly Friends Clinic, gives the following general factors that also affect the penis.
Obesity. In most cases, the factors that lead to obesity can cause the penis to become shorter and smaller. This can also lead to a low sperm count.
Blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause erection problems.
Poor oral hygiene. This can lead to infections in the mouth hence blocking the smaller tubes of the testes which makes a man to have a very low sperm count.
Smoking. Smoking leads to the tissues of penis getting damaged which means that a man will not be able to have an erection during love making.
Alcohol. Too much drinking causes dehydration leading to minimal blood flow to the penis.