Know your Penis

The penis is a sexual organ in males, attaining its full shape and size during puberty. Apart from its sexual function, the penis performs as a medium for urine to run out of the body.

There are several parts of the penis:

Head of the penis is known as glans: Among uncircumcised males, the glans is roofed with moist, pink tissue known as mucosa. Wrapping the glans is the prepuce (technical term for foreskin).  In males, who undergo circumcision, their prepuce is removed surgically and the mucosa on the circumcised glans turns into dry skin.

Corpus cavernosum: Along the sides of the penis, two tissue columns are found.  For an erection to happen, these tissues get filled with blood.

Corpus spongiosum: In the face of the penis and the glans ending, it gets filled with blood to cause an erection by maintaining the urethra open running through it.

The urethra, running via the corpus spongiosum conducts the urine to flow out of the body.

An erection is the result of blood flow changes in the penis. As a male gets sexually aroused, the nerves running through it make the blood vessels of the penis enlarge. With additional blood flow in and lesser amount of it flowing out of the penis, the tissues harden within the corpus cavernosum.

Conditions of Penis

  • Erectile dysfunction: It is a condition, wherein a male’s penis is not able to achieve adequate stiffness for a satisfactory copulation. Damage to the arteries, a.k.a. Atherosclerosis is the commonest reason of erectile dysfunction.
  • Priapism: It is a painful condition and cause serious issues. In this condition, wherein an unusual erection takes place and does not fade away for several hours, even when there is no stimulation.
  • Hypospadias: It is usually a birth defect, wherein the urine opening is on the front or even underside instead of on the penis tip. The condition is correctable with surgery.
  • Paraphimosis or Phimosis: In this condition, the prepuce (foreskin) is so tight that its pulling back from the head of the penis becomes difficult. In case it is retracted, it is not possible to bring it back to the normal position over the head of the penis. In adult males, this happens in case the penis gets infected.
  • Balanitis: In such a condition, the penis glans gets infected and cause redness, tenderness and pain in the penis head.
  • Balanoposthis: It is the same condition as in Balanitis but the infection involves the prepuce (foreskin) also in an uncircumcised male.
  • Chordee: It is usually a birth defect wherein the penis end develops unusual curve. The problem may need a surgical rectification.
  • Peyronie’s Disease: In this condition, the penis shaft develops an unusual curve in an adult because of certain conditions or injuries.
  • Urethritis: In such a condition, the urethra gets infected or inflamed causing pain while any type of penis discharges or urination. The pelvic inflammatory diseases or infections such as Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the common reasons.
  • Gonorrhea: It is a sexually transmitted infection, wherein Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria  infects the penis and causes urethritis condition. Most of the gonorrhea cases in males cause pain in the penis or discharge.
  • Chlamydia:  It is again a sexually transmitted infection causing urethritis.  Nearly in 40% cases of this infection do not show any symptoms.
  • Syphilis: In this condition, a bacterial infection gets transmitted while having sex with the infected person. The earliest symptom of this infection is generally a penis chancre (ulcer) causing no pain.
  • Herpes: In this condition, the viral diseases HSV-I & HSV-2 may cause small ulcers and small blisters on the penis that crop up again and again over a period of time.
  • Micropenis: An unusual small penis since birth. Imbalanced hormones are mainly the reason for micropenis.
  • Penis warts: The HPV (human papillomavirus) may be the reason of warts on your penis. These warts are exceedingly transmittable and may aggressively spread during sexual activities with the infected person.
  • Penis cancer: The cancer of the penis is a rare phenomenon and with circumcision, the risk of developing such a cancer can be decreased.

 Penis Tests

  • Urethral swab: A swab within the penis is sent to the laboratory for culture. The swab may identify urethritis or some other infections.
  • Urinalysis: In this examination, the chemicals present in the urine are examined.  With urinalysis infection, bleeding or kidney issues are identified.
  • Nocturnal penis tumescence examination: (Examination of Erection) At night, a device having flexibility is worn around the penis for identifying erections while you are asleep.  This examination helps in identifying the reason of erectile dysfunction.
  • Urine Culture: The urine is cultured in the laboratory for diagnosing the presence of infection in the urinary tract which may be damaging the penis functionality.
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): It is a urine examination for diagnosing the presence of chlamydia, Gonorrhea or any other organisms harming the working of the penis

Penis Treatments

  • Phosphodiesterase inhibitors: These medications like Viagra or Sildenafil increase the blood flow in your penis making your erections harder.
  • Antibiotics:  Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea and other infections caused by bacteria affecting the penis working are usually treated with antibiotics.
  • Antiviral medications: These medicines are taken daily.  They help in suppressing HSV for preventing the penis from herpes outbreaks.
  • Surgery of the Penis: Surgery of the penis is performed for correcting hypospadias and is needed for the penis cancer.
  • Testosterone:  The low levels of testosterone very rarely result in erectile dysfunction.  At times, testosterone supplement improves the erectile dysfunction in some males.
CategoryPenis anatomy
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