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Since he was first capable of conceptual thought, the human male has asked two things: what is the nature of God and the universe, and is my penis big enough? Pretty much all betesticled folk have wondered where they rank on the penis-size scoreboard at some point. Dispelling them is one of the next big challenges for how our society approaches body positivity.
Going to a Cleveland Clinic location? Disorders which can affect the penis include priapism, balanitis, penile cancer, erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory disorders. Learn about the causes and treatments for each condition. Urology The penis is one of the external structures of the male reproductive system. The penis has three parts:.
Average penis size: what it is and why it doesn’t matter
The opening of the urethra, the tube that transports semen and urine out of the body, is located at the tip of the glans penis. The body of the penis is cylindrical in shape and consists of three internal chambers. These chambers are made up of special, sponge-like erectile tissue. This tissue contains thousands of large caverns that fill with blood when the man is sexually aroused. As the penis fills with blood, it becomes rigid and erect, which allows for penetration during sexual intercourse.
The skin of the penis is loose and elastic to accommodate changes in penis size during an erection.
Semen, which contains sperm the male reproductive cellsis expelled through the end of the penis when the man reaches sexual climax orgasm. Disorders of the penis can affect a man's sexual functioning and fertility. The most common form is ischemic priapism, which is a persistent, fully rigid and very painful erection that can last from several hours to a few days. The priapism erection is not associated with sexual activity and is not relieved by orgasm.
It happens when blood flows into the penis but is not drained. Common causes of priapism include:.
Average penis size: what it is and why it doesn’t matter
Ischemic priapism is an emergency. It is important to get prompt treatment to avoid damage to the penis. In most cases, treatment can involve:. Treating any underlying medical condition or substance abuse problem is important in preventing priapism. High flow or arterial priapism is a persistent erection, which is not rigid and not painful.
Unlike ischemic priapism, this does not require urgent treatment. Treatment, when requested by the patient, usually involves a temporary block to a branch of an artery that goes to the penis.
Peyronie's disease. This is a condition in which a plaque scar tissue forms in the penis. The plaque may develop on the upper more common or lower side of the penis, in the elastic layers that surround erectile tissue. The plaque often begins as a localized area of irritation and swelling inflammation and can develop into a hardened scar.
The scarring reduces the elasticity of the penis in the area affected. However, evidence links this to injuries that occur during sex in men who have erectile insufficiency EI or erectile dysfunction ED. A risk factor of the first option is partial loss of erectile function, especially rigidity. The second procedure, also known as the Nesbit procedure, shortens the normal side of the penis to balance the shortening due to scar on the opposite side. This procedure does not decrease erectile function.
Non-surgical treatment for Peyronie's disease involves injecting medication directly into the plaque in an attempt to:. Penile implants can be used in cases where Peyronie's disease has affected the man's ability to achieve or maintain an erection. This condition is an inflammation swelling of the glans head of penis.
A similar condition, balanoposthitis, refers to inflammation of the head and the foreskin. Symptoms of balanitis include:.
Balanitis most often occurs in men and boys who have not been circumcised had their foreskin surgically removedand who have poor hygiene. Inflammation can occur if the sensitive skin under the foreskin is not washed regularly, allowing sweat, debris, dead skin and bacteria to collect under the foreskin and cause irritation. The presence of tight foreskin may make it difficult to keep this area clean and can lead to irritation by a foul-smelling substance smegma that can accumulate under the foreskin. In addition, men with diabetes are at greater risk of balanitis.
Glucose sugar in the urine that is trapped under the foreskin serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.
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Persistent inflammation of the penis head and foreskin can result in scarring, which can cause a tightening of the foreskin phimosis and a narrowing of the urethra tube that drains urine from the bladder. Inflammation also can lead to swelling of the foreskin, which can cause injury to the penis.
Treatment for balanitis depends on the underlying cause. If there is an infection, treatment will include an appropriate antibiotic or antifungal medication. In cases of severe or persistent inflammation, a circumcision may be recommended.
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Taking appropriate hygiene measures can help prevent future bouts of balanitis. In addition, it is important to avoid strong soaps or chemicals, especially those known to cause a skin reaction. The exact cause of premature ejaculation PE is not known. While in many cases PE is due to performance anxiety during sex, other factors may be:. Studies suggest that the breakdown of serotonin a natural chemical that affects mood may play a role in PE. Certain drugs, including some antidepressants, may affect ejaculation, as can nerve damage to the back or spinal cord.
Retrograde ejaculation is most common in males with diabetes who suffer from diabetic nerve damage. Problems with the nerves in the bladder and the bladder neck force the ejaculate to flow backward. In other men, retrograde ejaculation may be a side effect of some medications or happen after an operation on the bladder neck or prostate.
Erectile Dysfunction ED is the inability to get and keep an erection for sexual intercourse.
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ED is quite common, with studies showing that about one-half of American men over age 40 are affected. Causes of ED include:. This is a condition in which the foreskin of the penis is so tight that it cannot be pulled back retracted to reveal the head of the penis. Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin, once retracted, cannot return to its original location.
Phimosis, which is seen most often in children, may be present at birth. It also can be caused by:. Immediate medical attention is necessary if the condition makes urination difficult or impossible.
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Paraphimosis is a medical emergency that can cause serious complications if not treated. Paraphimosis may happen after an erection or sexual activity, or as the result of injury to the head of the penis. With paraphimosis, the foreskin becomes stuck behind the ridge of the head of the penis.
If this condition is prolonged, it can cause:. In extreme cases, the lack of blood flow can result in the death of tissue gangreneand amputation of the penis may be necessary. Treatment of phimosis may include gentle, manual stretching of the foreskin over a period of time.
Sometimes, the foreskin can be loosened with medication applied to the penis. Circumcisionthe surgical removal of the foreskin, often is used to treat phimosis. Another surgical procedure, called preputioplasty, involves separating the foreskin from the glans. This procedure preserves the foreskin and is less traumatic than circumcision. Treatment of paraphimosis focuses on reducing the swelling of the glans and foreskin.
Applying ice may help reduce swelling, as may applying pressure to the glans to force out blood and fluid. If these measures fail to reduce swelling and allow the foreskin to return to its normal position, an injection of medication to help drain the penis may be necessary. In severe cases, a surgeon may make small cuts in the foreskin to release it. Circumcision also may be used as a treatment for paraphimosis.