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5 penile diseases and their symptoms

Penile diseases caused by fungi, bacteria and external factors are more common than they seem. If you’re not paying close attention to your ‘best friend’, it could become a target for these conditions.

When left untreated, penile ailments can evolve and risk the penis’ functionality and structural integrity.

Usually, a man can observe when there is something wrong with his genital parts. Nonetheless, symptoms should always be reported to an urologist — so the patient can be properly diagnosed and gain access to an effective treatment.

As there are various genital diseases, it can be vital for you to understand their causes, so you can keep your penis healthy by preventing them.

Yeast infections

Penile fungal infections, commonly known as yeast infections, are frequent among men.

The fungi responsible for causing this disease find an ideal environment for reproduction in the genital area, due to the humidity and warmth.

For the most part, penile fungal infections can be easily treated. Here’s how:

How can you know if you have a yeast infection?

Did you know that the fungus Candida albicans, the cause of penile candidiasis (also known as yeast infection), is naturally found in the human body?

When the fungi population is under control, it poses no threat to our health. It only becomes a problem when it proliferates excessively — causing discomfort for the patient.

Male yeast infections happen due to internal and external factors.

Diabetes, immunosuppressive diseases, illicit drug use, malnutrition and any other factors that might weaken the immune system, are opportunities for the disease to manifest itself.

Furthermore, bad hygiene practices, as well as the humidity and warmth present in the genital area, make an ideal environment for the fungi to reproduce and migrate to other body parts, such as the mouth and throat.

The main symptoms for the penile yeast infection are:

  • Rashes;
  • Itching;
  • Pain in the glans;
  • Red spots and/or white patches on the penis;
  • Discomfort while urinating;
  • Burning sensation when peeing or during sexual intercourse;
  • Off-white or white discharge.

How do I know if I have balanitis?

Patients who have a yeast infection may also present the symptoms for balanitis. It is also caused when the fungus Candida albicans proliferates at a greater rate than normal, and in doing so, causes an inflammation of the outer layers of the glans — the ‘head’ of the penis.

Balanitis may also be caused by other factors, such as bacteria infections, allergies and skin irritations, lesions and diseases (i.e., psoriasis).

This problem can evolve, and also affect the prepuce (foreskin). When this happens, the disease is then called balanoposthitis.

The symptoms for balanitis may include:

  • Itching;
  • Foul smell;
  • Increase in sensitivity;
  • Swelling of the glans;
  • Unusual white or off-white discharge;
  • Painful urination;
  • Difficulty exposing the glans.

How to cure a male yeast infection?

The best course of action, if you suspect you have a yeast infection, is reporting your symptoms to your doctor.

On numerous occasions, the treatment can be as simple as an adequate hygiene practice. In some other cases, some antifungal ointments may be recommended for treating the infection. When the disease is persisting or recurring, an antifungal oral medicine might be indicated.

After the patient is cured, it is important for him to keep the best hygiene practices and strengthen his immune system — in doing so, he will avoid the overproliferation of the fungi which causes the disease.

Bacterial infections

Just like some fungi, there are some bacteria which are found naturally in our bodies without causing problems. A 2010 study published in the PLoS One magazine, found that circumcised men present a significant amount of bacteria greater than the uncircumcised ones, and the types of bacteria found were also different.

Still, there are indeed some troubling micro-organisms when the male health is concerned. Know how you can prevent them:

How can you get gonorrhea?

The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria is responsible for causing gonorrhea, a known STI (sexually transmitted infection) which affects primarily the urethra. The most susceptible group for being infected by this disease are young people, up to 25 years old, but anyone can be contaminated.

The transmission happens through unprotected sexual intercourse, whether it is vaginal, anal or oral, and can happen even when there is no penetration. The disease can also be contracted during childbirth, when the mother has the disease but does not know it, or when the infection was not properly treated, resulting in the child being infected.

Gonorrhea is easily identified in men, for it presents symptoms such as:

  • Inflammation in the urethra;
  • Burning sensation and/or pain during urination;
  • Thick green or yellow discharge.

How to avoid gonorrhea and other STIs?

Gonorrhea can be usually treated by an antibiotic injection prescribed by a doctor. If left untreated, the infection can reach the testicles and epididymis and ultimately cause the male infertility.

However, it is worth remembering that the treatment does not provide immunity against the STI. To avoid it — as well as other sexually transmitted infections — you should always use a condom during sexual intercourse. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the condom is an effective measure which protects almost 100% against the various STIs. 

Diseases caused by external factors

Some penile diseases are related to external factors, such as trauma in the genital area. In this case, we are mentioning severe conditions, which when not treated in time, with the due care and attention, could leave lifetime consequences for the male patient’s sexual life.

What is priapism?

The name of this condition is a hint to its effects on the patient’s penis. It refers to the Greek god Priapus, who was born with an abnormally large — albeit impotent — penis.

In cases of priapism, men can have an erection for longer than 3 hours, without any sexual stimulation, or even after ejaculation. This involuntary problem can permanently damage the ability to have and maintain an erection, because the penis suffers internal injuries.

In ischemic priapism, also known as low-flow priapism, the blood is trapped in the interior of the penis, causing a lack of oxygen that can ultimately cause cellular death. Individuals with blood diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia, are more prone to this condition.

In non-ischemic priapism, however, the intense blood flow in the penis makes it unable to get flaccid. Traumas in the genital area are usually responsible for this condition.

Men can show the following symptoms when priapism occurs:

  • Erection lasting for 3 hours or more;
  • Painful erection;
  • Flaccid glans;
  • Urinary retention.

What to do if priapism occurs to me?

Priapism is a dangerous condition, and therefore is considered a medical urgency. If the patient does not search for a doctor immediately, the death of the erectile tissue results in erectile dysfunction and Peyronie’s disease.

It is very important that the patient avoids manipulating the penis during a priapism, to avoid a penile fracture.

The erection is interrupted through the use of vasoconstrictor medication, or through the drainage of blood from the penis, allowing it to become flaccid once again.

However, the treatment does not end there. After the critical stage, it is very important for the patient to make an appointment with his urologist, so he can find the cause of the problem in order to treat it and avoid a recurrence. The same specialist doctor will also be able to treat eventual consequences from the priapism.

Is having a penile curvature the same as having Peyronie’s disease?

Aesthetic differences in the erect penis may be a sign for Peyronie’s disease, especially when it gets bent. The ailment afflicts between 5 to 8% of the male population.

Usually, Peyronie’s disease affects older men, above 45 years old, and there is a reason for it. Erectile dysfunction and the culmination of trauma and microtrauma to the penis throughout a man’s life are the biggest causes. Nevertheless, the disease can also be caused by diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and be a consequence to priapism. Men who receive treatment for prostate cancer also present damage that leads to this condition.

Peyronie’s disease shows a number of symptoms, including:

  • A bent penis, reduced in size or with hourglass deformities;
  • Nodules on the penis;
  • Painful erections;
  • Difficulty or impossibility to penetrate;
  • Limited movements during sexual intercourse.

How to treat a bent penis?

Fortunately, while the disease is at the initial stage, there are chances of stabilizing it with the use of oral medications of penile injections. That is why you should quickly make an appointment with your urologist, if you show any of the symptoms for this condition.

When Peyronie’s disease causes curvatures with more than 30°, however, the male sexual life tends to get impaired, due to the loss of the penile rigidity and penetrative function. When the condition reaches this stage, the indicated treatment might be surgical.

During the surgical procedure, relaxing incisions are made to expand the penis, recovering its size and length up to the limit of the length of the penile nerves. A penile prosthesis implant that respects the proportion of length x girth is also necessary. It will recover the rigidity of the penis, so the patient will once again be able to penetrate his partner and have a healthy sex life.

Se você tem percebido mudanças no seu pênis, venha até a nossa clínica para que possamos diagnosticar e tratar a Doença de Peyronie. É só clicar no botão abaixo para marcar a sua consulta.

If you feel like your penis is changing, visit us at our clinic so we can diagnose and plan your treatment for Peyronie’s disease. Just click the button below to make an appointment.

Furthermore, don’t miss the doctor if you suspect you have any fungal or bacterial penile infections. The health of your penis is very important to your quality of life.

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Dr.Paulo Egydio

Dr.Paulo Egydio

Médico PhD em Urologia pela USP, CRM 67482-SP, RQE 19514, Autor dos Princípios Geométricos (conhecido como “Técnica de Egydio”), além de outros artigos e livros cientifícos na área. Professor convidado para ministrar aulas e cirurgias ao vido, em congressos no Brasil e Exterior.

Dr. Paulo Egydio é dedicado ao tratamento da curvatura
peniana e do implante de prótese.

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