Xiaflex’s Odd ‘Bent Carrot’ Ad Sparks Penile Health Awareness

An Ad About Penile Health Has Added New Meaning to the Term ‘Bent Carrot’

Xiaflex’s first campaign offers a healthy visual

By Leonardo Faierman

November 17, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on ADWEEK

Edited for content.

A new pharmaceuticals ad is prompting conversations surrounding its eyebrow-raising use of a slightly misshapen root vegetable.

Prescription medication Xiaflex’s first-ever TV ad, titled “Bent Carrot,” recently prompted some awareness of Peyronie’s Disease, a condition stemming from repeated injuries that leads to a significantly bent or curved penis. The spot sees a man and woman in a kitchen, standing before a stack of carrots. The topmost carrot is prominently bent, which elicits notably concerned glances from the couple.

While the carrot serves as a mild metaphor for Peyronie’s Disease, the remainder of the spot goes on to break down the cause and treatment of the condition, a regimen that includes injections and, per the ad, “daily penile-stretching and -straightening exercises.”

“We’re bringing awareness and education about treatment to consumers—part of Endo’s long-standing commitment to addressing men’s health issues,” said Thomas Kolaras, senior vp and general manager of Medical Therapeutics at parent company Endo, in a statement.

“Through this eye-catching, multi-channel campaign, we’re encouraging men with possible signs of Peyronie’s Disease to start a conversation with a urologist about their symptoms and about whether Xiaflex could be an option.”

The root (veggie) of the message

Of course, the symbolic produce, which the brand hopes will help destigmatize the condition, allows Xiaflex to safely advertise the product on various platforms. Still, the minute-long spot’s juxtaposition of the bent carrot along with its frank suggestions of targeted stretching and exercises has drawn some colored commentary online.

“What exactly are “stretching and straightening” exercises,” one YouTube commentator jokes. “My husband thinks I’ve lost my mind because I laugh every time this commercial comes on.” Another commentator—this time on Twitter— notes that the bent carrot might not “convince anyone,” likely referring to the seriousness of the condition.

In addition to TV, “Bent Carrot” is also currently airing digitally and on radio and audio streaming platforms.

 

Curvatures; Stretching Angles: Ask The Experts

Curvatures; Stretching Angles: Ask The Experts

Big Al, of MaleEnhancementCoach.com, answers questions about curvatures and stretching angles.

If you have questions you’d like answered in an Ask the Experts article, please PM Big Al.

Q. I have a slight curve in my penis which bends to the right.

I’m right-handed, if that matters. The curve isn’t due to Peyronie’s nor does it bother me much, but I want to straighten it out anyway. What method do you recommend to accomplish this goal?

Al: The type of curvature you describe was once colloquially termed a “hand made dick”. This is due to masturbation AKA “handling”- usually with the dominant hand. Performed vigorously and often enough, tissues will tend to get stretched on the opposite side- leading to this condition. The least invasive way to counter this issue would be to use the opposite hand for the majority of your work (in this case, your left hand), and make a concerted effort to pull towards the left. If this fails to yield satisfactory results after some weeks, more concerted means of correcting the curve should be looked into- like Erect Bends.

 

Q. When doing my stretches, I perform them seated and point my penis towards the floor.

I’ve also been experimenting with adjusting the angles of stretch in this position. What angles do you suggest for getting the most out mo my stretches?

Al: You can stretch at most any angle to better target specific aspects of the penis. An example: some stretch straight up as they feel this pulls more of the “inner penis” out by its root. If you’re looking to better target the suspensory ligament, leaning back slightly will give you a more intense stretch. Some prefer to stretch pulling towards the rear- in a “between the cheeks” (BTC) manner.  An extreme version of this is the LAS (Lazy Ass Stretch)- where you actually sit on your penis [The difference between BTC ands LAS Stretches].

It’s recommended you reduce the amount of reps and force when testing out new angles. Really focus on the FEEL of the stretch to determine where it’s having the most impact.

You’ll need to test out the various possibilities to see what works best for your goals.

Peyronie’s Disease and Your Sex Life: 7 Things to Know

7 Ways Peyronie’s Disease Can Affect Your Sex Life

Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Cathy Lovering on February 19, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

Peyronie’s disease is when plaques (scar tissue) form under the skin of the penis and cause it to bend. Living with this condition often includes pain and changes to sexual function that can affect personal intimacy, your relationships, and mental health.

Understanding the ways Peyronie’s disease can affect your sex life and partner can help you know what to expect from the disease, along with how treatment options can help.

Here are seven things to know about Peyronie’s disease and sex.

1. Getting and keeping an erection can be challenging

Erectile dysfunction is more common among people with Peyronie’s disease. A 2020 study on 656 men who were receiving care at a urology clinic in Brazil found that nearly 60 percent of men with Peyronie’s disease had erectile dysfunction, compared with 46 percent of men without the condition.

There are a few possible reasons for the connection between Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction. For some, the scarring can make it difficult to get an erection.

Erections can also be challenging if the nerves or blood vessels of the penis have been damaged by inflammation or trauma to the penis, which is associated with Peyronie’s disease.

Many people living with Peyronie’s experience anxiety and depression because of the condition. These feelings can also lead to challenges with sexual function, so the symptoms often compound each other.

Finally, pain (especially during the active phase of the disease) can contribute to erectile dysfunction for some people with Peyronie’s.

2. Your partner may experience pain and discomfort

Peyronie’s disease often causes pain during erections. But that condition doesn’t only cause pain to those living with it — it can also make sex uncomfortable for their partners.

A 2020 study found that nearly half of the female sexual partners of men with the condition experienced at least moderate pain or discomfort during vaginal intercourse.

In some cases, couples couldn’t engage in certain sexual activities they enjoyed before the onset of Peyronie’s.

With that being said, the appearance of your penis might not be as much of an issue to your partner. The research found that nearly 60 percent of men with Peyronie’s disease were very or extremely bothered by how their erect penis looks, while just 20 percent of their female sexual partners felt the same way.

3. Communication can help couples cope

While it can be difficult to talk about Peyronie’s disease, communication is key to maintaining intimacy with your partner and finding new ways to be sexual.

Here are some ways to make the conversation easier, according to the Association of Peyronie’s Disease Advocates (APDA):

  • Discuss the condition and its effects over several conversations. Don’t feel like you have to cover everything in one sitting.
  • Your feelings and symptoms can change over time, so you may need to revisit topics in future conversations. Try to be honest about what you’re going through.
  • Make sure the conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. As much as you share your concerns, listen to your partner express how your condition is affecting them, as well.

The APDA also encourages people with Peyronie’s disease to involve their partners in exploring treatment options and going to doctor’s appointments.

4. Couples may need to explore new forms of intimacy

If Peyronie’s disease is making it challenging to have sex the way you’re used to, it might be time to explore new techniques.

Partners can use different positions or explore other forms of intimacy and pleasure besides intercourse to achieve satisfaction.

Speaking with a sex therapist or counselor can help both people in the relationship share their sexual needs and desires and work through challenges in the relationship.

5. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can provide pain relief

Treatments for Peyronie’s disease, which range from injections to surgery and penile implants, usually have the goal to reduce curvature and improve sexual function.

However, not all people with the condition need medical treatments. If pain is your main symptom, OTC pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), may be all you need to have a more comfortable erection.

6. Treatments can boost sexual satisfaction

There are a number of surgical and nonsurgical treatments for Peyronie’s disease. While they’re typically focused on reversing curvature and breaking up plaques, some treatments have the added benefit of boosting satisfaction for partners of people with the condition.

A 2020 review of small studies found that 70 percent of female partners of men with Peyronie’s disease who were treated with collagenase clostridium histolyticum injections experienced higher sexual satisfaction.

Female partner sexual satisfaction also climbed by 34 percent to 88 percent when men were treated with penile plication, 90 to 100 percent after they underwent plaque incision or partial excision with grafting, and 40 to 75 percent after penile prosthesis implantation (a treatment typically reserved for people with severe Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction).

It’s important to note that available research only surveyed women who were intimate with men with Peyronie’s disease, so further study is needed to determine how the condition and treatments can affect non-female partners.

7. Talking with others can make you feel better

The psychological impacts of Peyronie’s disease can affect your emotional well-being, as well as your ability to be intimate.

According to APDA, the condition can change the way a person sees themself and hurt their self-confidence.

People with Peyronie’s disease may avoid intimacy, lose interest in sex, and withdraw emotionally. This can cause a range of psychological challenges for both people in the relationship.

Overcoming emotional and social isolation can help reduce the impact of the condition on your sex life and overall well-being. Consider talking with others who are living with the condition or joining a support group.

A mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a therapist, can also give you a safe space to work through concerns and find ways to cope.

Takeaway

Peyronie’s disease can make a big impact on a person’s sex life, both due to the physical symptoms and the emotional impacts of the condition.

The condition can also make an impact on your partner’s comfort and satisfaction during sex.

Exploring treatment options, having open and honest conversations, and seeing a sex therapist are some of the ways to reduce the effects of Peyronie’s disease on intimacy.

You may also consider joining a support group to connect with others who have the condition.

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Types of penises: Shape, size, circumcision, and more

What to know about types of penises

Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Mathieu Rees on November 23, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

Edited for content

The penis is a male organ with functions that include reproduction and urination. As with any body part, no two people have the same penis.

The penis has two main features. The body, or shaft, connects the penis to the abdomen. At the opposite end of the shaft is the glans, or head.

This article lists some common types of penises, categorized primarily by measurement, and provides some related information.

Length

Penises come in different lengths when flaccid or erect.

Estimates about average penis length can vary. For example, one 2014 study looked at the penis size of United States males. It found that the average erect length was around 5.6 inches.

However, another article suggests there are issues with many penis length studies, including the fact that participants self-report measurements.

These studies use self-reported data and are therefore subject to bias, which likely fuels the widespread belief that the average penis size is closer to 6 inches. In reality, the average is likely to be lower

Girth

Penises also have different girths or circumferences.

A 2014 study into the penis size of U.S. males found that the average erect girth was around 4.8 inches.

However, as with penis length, a person should note that many penis girth studies use self-reported measurements, which are known to be fairly unreliable.

Curvature

Some penises are completely straight when erect. However, many have a bend or curvature. There are three main types of curved penis. These include penises that:

  • curve upwards from its base
  • curve downwards from its base
  • curve to the left or right

Additionally, some people may have multiple kinds of curvature. For instance, some penises may curve to the left and upwards.

Penile curvatures are common and typically benign. They are rarely painful and do not usually make penetrative sex more difficult.

However, abnormal penile curvature can sometimes be a symptom of Peyronie’s disease. One review lists the following as possible symptoms:

  • a thickened area, or plaque, in the penile shaft
  • curvature of the penis during erection
  • pain in the penis
  • erectile dysfunction

Scientists are not sure what causes Peyronie’s disease.

One common explanation is that the condition results from mild, recurring trauma to the penis. This can occur during intercourse or masturbation.

Peyronie’s disease can also be due to a rupture in the penis, known as a penile fracture. Genetic factors may also contribute to the development of this condition.

Anybody who suspects they may have Peyronie’s disease should seek medical advice. Sometimes, people with the condition who experience no other issues, such as pain, could still use their penis for sexual activity without needing medical treatment.

In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the plaque or reduce the curvature in the penis.

The base to head ratio

For some people, the circumference of the base of their penile shaft is the same as the circumference of their penile head.

For others, this ratio is different. Some may have a penile head with more girth than the base of their shaft, or vice versa.

Circumcised and uncircumcised

A person with a penis is born with a retractable layer of skin that covers the penile head, commonly referred to as the foreskin.

Many people around the world have their foreskin surgically removed, in a process known as male circumcision.

A trained person may carry out male circumcision on children and adults, often for cultural or religious reasons. Doctors can also perform them in medical treatments.

Circumcised penises do not have a foreskin, which means that the glans is always visible. Uncircumcised penises have a foreskin, which often covers the glans, especially when the penis is flaccid.

Some infants can be born without a foreskin, which is a condition called hypospadias. Here, the opening of the penis is not found at the tip. Surgery is usually required to correct this issue.

Uncircumcised men can also develop phimosis, where the foreskin cannot retract over the hood of the glans. This can lead to irritation and infection. People with the condition generally require medical circumcision.

Because circumcision is a surgical process, it can sometimes lead to health issues, including:

  • infection
  • necrosis of the penile head
  • cut to the penile head or urethra
  • penile loss

However, people should note that this procedure is very common. Infections following circumcision, one of the most common possible complications, affect just 0.5% of people.

Summary

Many internet sources misinform and perpetuate myths about penises. In reality, they are highly varied, just like other body parts.

Anyone who has concerns about their penis can seek medical advice from a trained professional.

PRP for Erectile Dysfunction: Research, Benefits, and Risks

Can PRP Treat Erectile Dysfunction? Research, Benefits, and Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Kevin O. Hwang, MD, MPH — Written by Daniel Yetman on March 6, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

What is PRP?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a component of blood that’s thought to promote healing and tissue generation. PRP therapy is used to treat tendon or muscle injuries, stimulate hair growth, and speed recovery from surgery.

It’s also used as an experimental or alternative treatment option for:

  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • penis enlargement
  • sexual performance

There’s currently little research on the effectiveness of PRP for ED. In this article, we’re going to break down what scientists have found so far. We’ll also look at alternative treatment options and potential side effects of PRP therapy.

How does it work?

Your blood is made of four different components: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets.

Plasma is the liquid part of your blood and makes up about half of its volume. Platelets are critical for helping your blood clot after an injury. They also contain proteins called growth factors that help speed up healing.

The theoretical benefit of PRP for ED is to make the tissue and blood vessels in the penis healthier.

To prepare PRP, a medical professional takes a small sample of your blood and spins it in a machine called a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates the plasma and platelets from the other parts of your blood.

The resulting PRP mixture has a much higher concentration of platelets than regular blood. Once the PRP is developed, it’s injected into your penis. This is called the Priapus Shot, or P-Shot.

The P-Shot is a quick procedure, and you’ll likely be able to leave the clinic in about an hour. You also don’t have to do anything to prepare in advance for the procedure.

What does the research say?

Many clinics offering PRP for ED claim that it’s effective, but there’s limited scientific evidence to support their claims. Using PRP for ED is experimental, and its effectiveness is still under review.

A 2020 review looked at all the research available to date on PRP therapy for male sexual dysfunction. The review looked at three animal studies and two human studies for ED. The studies didn’t report any major adverse reactions to PRP therapy.

The researchers concluded that PRP has the potential to be a useful treatment option for ED. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the studies had small sample sizes, and there weren’t adequate comparison groups.

More research is needed to understand the benefits of PRP treatment. The current evidence is mostly anecdotal.

How does PRP compare to other ED treatments?

At this time, it isn’t clear if undergoing PRP therapy will help improve symptoms of ED. Traditional treatment options might be a better alternative until more research is available.

Many people with ED have success with traditional treatment options, which usually target the underlying cause of ED. Your doctor can evaluate you for potential causes of ED, such as heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes, and recommend the best treatment option for you.

Common ED treatments include:

  • Medications. ED medications allow the blood vessels in the penis to relax and increase blood flow.
  • Lifestyle changes. Becoming more physically active, eating a healthier diet, and quitting smoking all have the potential to improve ED.
  • Talk therapy. Talk therapies might help improve ED if it’s a result of psychological causes, such as anxiety, stress, or relationship problems.
  • Targeting underlying conditions. ED is often caused by an underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease. Treating these conditions has the potential to improve erection quality.
How much does PRP cost?

Few insurance plans currently cover PRP because it’s still considered an experimental treatment. The cost of the P-Shot can range widely among clinics. According to the Hormone Zone, the P-Shot procedure costs about $1,900. However, some clinics may charge up to $2,200 for treatment.

According to the 2018 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report, the average doctor fee for a PRP procedure was $683, not including facility and instrument cost.

Finding a doctor

If you’re interested in having PRP treatment for ED, talk to your doctor. They can answer your questions about PRP and refer you to a specialist who performs the treatment. Globally, there are at least 683 registered clinics that can administer PRP for ED.

PRP is usually performed by a doctor or surgeon. However, laws on who can perform the treatment may vary between countries.

When looking for somebody to perform PRP, check their medical credentials to make sure they’re licensed by a medical board before you make an appointment.

If possible, you may also want to speak to one of their previous clients to see if they were happy with their results.

Risks and side effects

The 2020 review mentioned earlier found no major adverse effects in the study participants. However, researchers can’t say whether or not PRP is a safe treatment for ED until more research comes out.

As of now, there have been few clinical trials, and the sample sizes have been too small to make any conclusions.

PRP is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction since the substance being injected is coming from your body. However, as with any type of injection, there’s always a risk of complications, such as:

  • infection
  • nerve damage
  • pain, including pain at the injection site
  • tissue damage
  • bruising
Takeaway

PRP therapy is still an experimental treatment. At this time, it isn’t clear if PRP can help treat ED. The procedure is relatively expensive and isn’t covered by most insurance companies.

Early research looks promising, but until studies with large sample sizes and control groups come out, you may want to stick with traditional ED treatments.

If you’re having trouble getting an erection, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can test you for underlying medical conditions that may be causing ED and recommend an appropriate treatment.

Common Causes of Impotence

Common Causes of Impotence

By Sara Ryding, B.Sc.

Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on NEWS MEDICAL

Edited for content

Impotence, which is also known as erectile dysfunction, is the inability to get and maintain an erection for intercourse. While the occasional issue with impotence is not considered rare or cause for concern, persistent issues can cause severe stress and be a sign of an underlying health issue. The causes of impotence can include physical and psychological sources.

Impotence and sexual arousal

The processes around sexual arousal are complex and can be difficult to distinguish. For males, the sexual arousal process involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels to achieve an erection.

As such, impotence can stem from any of these areas or a combination of them. For example, impotence caused by blood vessel issues can be worsened by subsequent stress and mental health concerns.

Physical causes of impotence

Vascular causes of impotence are among the most common causes of impotence. In some cases, impotence can be a symptom of progression towards cardiovascular disease. For example, impotence is common in people with atherosclerosis and can later progress into heart disease. If the veins are unable to close during an erection, this can cause impotence as it hinders the erection from being maintained. This is called veno-occlusive dysfunction.

Veno-occlusive dysfunction can be caused by the development of venous channels that drain blood from the corpora cavernosa where blood would otherwise be trapped during health erections. Veno-occlusive dysfunction can also be caused by deleterious alterations to the tunica albuginea, which would otherwise be responsible for stopping blood from leaving the penis. These alterations can occur as a result of old age, diabetes, or Peyronie’s disease. Other causes include traumatic injury, alterations to muscles around the area, and shunts that are acquired during certain surgery.

Neurological issues are another physical cause of impotence. This can occur as a result of diseases, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, or due to trauma and injury. These can cause impotence by both decreasing libidos and by inhibiting the onset of an erection. In the event of spinal cord injury, the effect on impotence can depend on the nature, location, and extent of the injury. Similarly, neurological issues can be the cause of impotence in old age as sensory stimuli abate with age.

There is some evidence that hormonal issues can cause impotence. A deficiency in androgen, a hormone needed for male sexual characteristics and sex drive, can lower nocturnal erections and decrease libido. However, there is also evidence that erections in response to sexual stimulation still occur in patients with decreased hormonal activity, meaning androgen is not essential.

Psychological causes of impotence

Psychological issues were previously believed to be the main cause of impotence, and it is still considered a common cause of impotence. If the onset of impotence is sudden, this might indicate that the cause is psychological rather than physical.

Psychological issues can range from serious mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, to issues in the relationship with whom impotence occurs. The brain is a starting point for sexual arousal, and issues at this stage can be detrimental to the onset of an erection.

Mental health issues such as depression have a particularly strong link to impotence. This can be due to a lack of libido, performance anxiety, or persistent loss of interest and enjoyment. In schizophrenic people, lowered libido is the main cause of impotence. Some drugs to treat schizophrenia can increase libido, but there can still be persistent issues with erections and orgasms.

Risk factors of impotence

While the causes of impotence can be physical and psychological, there are certain lifestyle and medical factors that can increase the risk of these causes. For example, using tobacco can restrict blood flow the veins and arteries and can thus, over time, lead to vasculature issues which lead to impotence.

Age is one of the biggest risk factors in impotence. Impotence occurs in around 20-40% of older men. Studies have found that the risk of impotence rises by 10% every year in men aged 40-70 years old. The reasons for this are numerous: the penis becomes less sensitive to stimulation, hormone levels decrease, cardiovascular issues become more common, and libido naturally decreases with age.

Other risk factors include obesity, injuries that damage nerves or arteries that are involved in erections, persistent drinking, or alcoholism. Impotence can be avoided by sometimes making changes to lifestyle, such as reducing drinking and smoking but may sometimes need focused treatment. Other times, medical treatments such as radiation treatment or prostate surgery can be risk factors for impotence and may be needed to save the patient’s life.

Sources

  • Mayo Clinic. 2020. Erectile Dysfunction – Symptoms and Causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes/syc-20355776> [Accessed 26 August 2020].
  • Lue, T., 2000. Erectile Dysfunction. New England Journal of Medicine, 342(24), pp. 1802-1813.
  • Wyllie, M., 2005. The underlying pathophysiology and causes of erectile dysfunction. Clinical Cornerstone, 7(1), pp. 19-26.

Penis Health: 38 Things to Know About Maintenance, Safety, and More

Penis Health: 38 Things to Know About Maintenance, Safety, and More

Everything You Need to Know About Penis Health

Medically reviewed by Stacy Sampson, DO on March 26, 2019 — Written by Sian Ferguson

This article is a repost which originally appeared on HealthLine

Edited for content

What this means

When most people think about penis health, they think about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and erectile dysfunction (ED).

While these conditions can certainly affect the health of your penis, penile health is about so much more than that.

There are many different things that can affect the health of your penis, including your hygiene practices, lifestyle changes, and any underlying health conditions.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your penis in tip-top shape.

What affects penis health?

Many different things can affect penis health. And by “penis health,” we mean:

  • your ability to urinate comfortably
  • your ability to get or maintain an erection
  • your fertility

Penis health also includes avoiding certain health conditions, such as penile cancer and STIs.

The following factors can affect the health of your penis:

Hormone levels

ED can be caused by hormone imbalances, such as a low testosterone level. Low testosterone levels can be caused by a number of different factors, which we’ll discuss in this article.

Age

As you age, you’re more likely to experience sexual dysfunctions like ED. This is partly because your testosterone level will naturally decline over time.

Health conditions

High blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, and certain neurological conditions can cause ED. Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression can also exacerbate ED.

Sex

If you want to have sex without a condom, ensure that both you and your partners are tested regularly for STIs, or remain in a monogamous relationship with someone free of STIs.

Otherwise, correctly using a condom every time you have sex is the only way to reduce your risk.

Rough sex can also harm your penis. For example, pulling back the foreskin abruptly can tear it. Accidentally bending your erect penis can cause a traumatic penis fracture.

Medication

Some forms of medication can increase your chances of ED. Speak to a doctor or other healthcare provider if you think your medication is causing ED or other sexual dysfunction.

Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is essential for your health. Wash your penis and groin area often to keep it clean.

Poor hygiene can cause a build-up of smegma, an oily, malodorous, and irritating substance that is known to occur below the foreskin.

If smegma builds up, it can cause inflammation to the adjacent skin. This can be uncomfortable and can be a cause [of] balanitis, a condition where the head of the penis becomes red and inflamed.

Even with a circumcised penis, less than ideal hygiene can lead to penile irritation and inflammation, including balanitis.

General tips

Penis health needs a holistic approach. In other words, taking care of all aspects of your general health is important for the health of your penis. This is especially important since a range of different health conditions can affect your fertility and penile health.

Stay hydrated

Hydration is important for your overall health, as well as the health of your penis. There might be a link between dehydration and ED, so try to get about two liters of water a day.

Eat a balanced diet

A balanced diet is key in helping you reduce your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease, both of which can cause ED.

One 2016 study conducted among 25,096 subjects looked at the relationship between ED and flavonoids, which are mostly found in vegetables and fruit.

Researchers found that the subjects who regularly consumed flavonoids were less likely to develop ED.

Certain foods may also boost your testosterone levels and improve your fertility. This includes:

  • spinach
  • spicy foods with capsaicin
  • avocado

Get regular exercise

Moderate physical activity can reduce your chances of ED.

One 2015 study looked at people with ED and a recent myocardial infarction, commonly referred to as a heart attack. It found that a home-based walking program can reduce ED.

Try exercising at least a few times a week — even a brisk walk every so often can improve your penile health.

Practice pelvic floor exercises

Pelvic floor exercises are often associated with vaginal health, but they can be helpful for everyone.

These exercises can improve your ability to get and maintain an erection, as well as prevent dribble after urination.

A small 2005 study on 55 people with ED found that pelvic exercises helped 40 percent of participants regain normal erectile function.

An additional 35.5 percent reported that, although they hadn’t completely regained normal function, their overall erectile function did improve.

You can do basic Kegel exercises by squeezing the muscles you use to urinate. Squeeze for five seconds, relax, and repeat for 10 rounds. Eventually, work your way up to 20 reps. Do this two or three times per day.

Maintain a healthy weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your chances of diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, all of which affect your penile health.

Practice stress management

Practicing stress management is great for your overall health and the health of your penis.

Stress and anxiety can affect your sexual performance and fertility. Stress also increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, which can lead to ED.

Stress management techniques include:

  • deep breathing
  • spending time with loved ones
  • journaling
  • meditation

Practice sleep hygiene

Sleep is important for your vascular health, which affects your ability to become erect.

There seems to be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and ED, possibly because sleep deprivation can lead to low testosterone and other hormonal imbalances.

Avoid tobacco

Smoking cigarettes is strongly associated with ED.

A 2013 study showed that this possibly is because smoking disrupts your heart’s autonomic function, which in turn leads to ED.

Smoking can also decrease your fertility.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all

As with tobacco, excessive drinking can cause a number of health problems, which can in turn affect your penis health.

How to wash your penis

You can wash your pubic area using warm water and unscented, mild soap. Don’t use harsh soaps or scrub the area too hard, as the sensitive skin in the area can be irritated.

Make sure you:

  1. Wash your pubic mound and the skin around the base of the penis, as well as the skin between your thighs and your pubic mound. Sweat can collect here.
  2. Wash the shaft of your penis.
  3. If you have a foreskin, gently pull it back and wash it. This helps to prevent smegma build-up, which can lead to conditions like balanitis.
  4. Wash your scrotum and the skin around it.
  5. Wash your perineum (the piece of skin between your scrotum and anus).
  6. Wash near your anus and between your butt cheeks.

It’s best to wash your penis every time you bathe.

As you wash yourself, examine the skin around your groin for STI symptoms. This includes:

  • unusual discharge
  • rashes
  • blisters
  • warts

How to groom your pubic hair

Some people like grooming their pubic hair, while others don’t. Whether you groom your pubic hair or not is your decision.

If you’d like to remove or trim your pubic hair, keep your skin type in mind. This will help you avoid razor burn and other discomfort.

Shaving

Shaving is a painless way to remove hair. It’s important to take certain precautions to avoid getting a rash.

Shave in the same direction that your hair grows. Use shaving cream while shaving and apply cortisone cream after to reduce irritation.

Never share razors with anybody else, and disinfect yours before use. If you use disposable razors, replace them every so often.

Waxing or threading

Waxing involves applying warm wax to the skin and pulling the hair out from their follicles.

Threading involves twisting thread around the hairs and pulling them out by the root.

Waxing and threading can be uncomfortable — it all depends on your individual pain tolerance.

If done incorrectly, these removal methods can cause swelling and rash.

You can reduce your risk for discomfort by visiting a professional waxer or threader.

Chemical hair removal

Hair removal cream breaks down the proteins in hair so that it can be washed away and removed.

While it can be an effective way to remove hair, some people find that hair removal creams irritate their skin.

You shouldn’t use these creams if you have sensitive skin or chemical allergies.

If you do use hair removal cream, don’t apply it directly to your penis.

Trimming

If you don’t want to remove the hair entirely, you can trim it with a pair of scissors or electric trimmer.

Be sure to disinfect scissors before and after use. You should only use these scissors for grooming — using them for other tasks can spread germs.

How to prevent STIs

There are a number of ways to prevent STIs.

Get vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommend that everyone gets vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV) around age 11 or 12.

Doing so at a young age — before you’re sexually active — ensures that you’re protected against HPV before you’re exposed to the virus.

But if you weren’t vaccinated as a child, you may still benefit from getting vaccinated as an adult. Talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider to learn more.

Get tested after every new partner

Many STIs are asymptomatic, which means that you won’t have any noticeable symptoms.

For this reason, it’s important to get tested before having sex with a new partner. Both you and your partners should get tested.

If you or a partner has an infection, you might be able to take certain precautions to prevent it from spreading between you.

For example, if you have HIV, your partner can take Truvada (pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP) to help prevent them from contracting it.

Use a condom every time you have sex

Using a condom every time you have sex — oral, vaginal, or anal — is the best way to help prevent the spread of certain STIs.

If you don’t want to use a condom, ensure that both you and your partners don’t have any STIs.

If you suspect you’ve contracted an STI, try not to panic. Most are treatable, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to a healthcare provider. They’ll help you find the cause of your symptoms and advise you on any next steps.

Common questions

At this point, you might have more questions about penis health. Here are some common concerns that many people have.

Does it matter if you’re circumcised?

Circumcision has its pros and cons. Whether you’re circumcised or not, it’s important to wash regularly.

If you have a foreskin, pull it back gently and clean it to avoid a smegma build-up. Circumcised penises are more likely to get chafed or irritated, so use loose-fitting, cotton underwear always.

Circumcision doesn’t affect fertility, but uncircumcised penises are more susceptible to STIs, as well as conditions like balanitis.

Practicing good hygiene and safe sex can reduce your chances of getting these conditions.

Does it matter if you’re a “grower” or a “shower”?

So far, there isn’t any scientific information that shows whether being a “grower” or a “shower” is better or healthier. Both are totally okay — so embrace whatever category your penis may fall into!

Is it normal for your penis to have a bend or a curve?

It’s normal for your penis to curve slightly, but if you have a significant bend and pain in your penis when it’s erect, you could have Peyronie’s disease.

This condition can cause some discomfort. It’s often caused by a traumatic injury.

If you’re concerned that you may have Peyronie’s, see a doctor or other healthcare provider.

Is “use it or lose it” true?

Many people believe that sex is a “use it or lose it” thing — that if you stop having sex, you’ll end up struggling to have sex.

While it’s true that frequent sex has many health benefits and can boost your sex drive, there’s no evidence that chastity can permanently or seriously damage your penis.

Is there such a thing as too much or too little ejaculate?

If you’re noticing that you are ejaculating a lower volume of semen than usual, it’s called perceived ejaculate volume reduction (PEVR).

This could be caused by a number of things, including depression, diabetes, and certain testicular conditions. It could also be a side effect of medication.

How can you maintain penis sensitivity as you age?

The tissue on your penis might lose sensitivity as you age. This could be caused by friction, so wear loose cotton underwear instead of tight, rough underwear.

How can you maintain your ability to get an erection?

Taking steps to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes — both of which can cause ED — can help you maintain your ability to get an erection.

What can you do to promote fertility?

Certain foods can promote fertility. For example, spinach contains magnesium, which can boost your testosterone levels.

Tomatoes and carrots can increase your sperm count and motility.

Other than that, healthy lifestyle choices help maintain fertility.

As outlined above, avoiding tobacco smoking and alcohol, eating a balanced diet, and exercising are all important for penis health.

Is it OK if your pee changes colors?

Your urine could change colors depending on how hydrated you are:

  • Clear urine could mean you’re overhydrated.
  • Yellow to amber urine is considered normal.
  • Orange or brown urine could mean you’re dehydrated.

Some colors might also be a cause for concern.

For example, bloody, cloudy, blue, or green urine could indicate that you have an infection or another health condition.

See a doctor if you’re experiencing unusual changes in color or consistency.

What if you start peeing more than usual?

Frequent urination could be a sign of:

  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • diabetes
  • interstitial cystitis

If you’re peeing a lot more than usual and you think something is wrong, contact a doctor. This is especially important if you’re experiencing a burning sensation during urination.

Is it normal for your penis to smell?

Your groin might naturally smell a little like sweat, as it’s common to sweat in that area. This smell can be reduced through daily washing.

However, the smell shouldn’t be pungent. An unpleasant-smelling penis could indicate that you have a condition such as:

  • UTI
  • yeast infection
  • balanitis
  • gonorrhea
  • chlamydia

If the smell doesn’t clear with careful washing, see a doctor for diagnosis.

What if your penis is sore or inflamed?

If your penis is sore or inflamed, it could be a sign of certain penis conditions. This includes:

  • balanitis
  • phimosis, a condition where the foreskin can’t be pulled back over the head of the penis
  • penile cancer, which is rare but serious

No matter the cause, pain and inflammation can be uncomfortable, so see a healthcare provider. They can help you find relief.

Is it possible to break or fracture you penis?

Although the penis doesn’t have bones in it, the term “penis fracture” is often used to refer to a penis injury where the lining inside becomes torn. This is often caused by rough sex.

If you fracture your penis, it will turn black and blue, flatten, and it may make a popping noise. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

When to see a doctor or other healthcare provider

Ideally, you should see a doctor once a year for a penile check-up.

Otherwise, you should seek medical attention if you experience:

  • bruises on the penis
  • yellow, green, or otherwise unusual penile discharge
  • swelling or inflammation of the penis
  • blisters, rashes, warts, or sores on or near your penis
  • burning, pain, or bleeding when you urinate or ejaculate
  • pain during sex
  • pain during an erection
  • difficulty getting or maintaining an erection

Check your groin for signs of infections and other conditions regularly.

If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to speak to a healthcare provider. They can help set your mind at ease and advise you on any next steps.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Veiny Penis: Is It Normal?

Is it normal to have a veiny penis?

By Jamie Eske
Reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, M.D.

 

* This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICALNEWSTODAY

 

In most cases, seeing veins beneath the skin of the penis is perfectly normal and does not require medical attention.

Several factors influence vein visibility, including:

  • genetics
  • age
  • frequency and intensity of physical activity
  • cardiovascular health
  • underlying medical conditions

In this article, we discuss why the veins in the penis might appear prominent and what this means.

We also review potential underlying medical conditions that contribute to penis vein visibility and when to see a doctor.

Why does it happen?

There are several veins and arteries that carry blood to and from the spongy erectile tissue in the penis.

Veins may look larger than usual during and immediately following an erection. Although the appearance of prominent veins may cause alarm, they indicate healthy blood flow.

Genetics and age can influence skin thickness, which may make veins appear more prominent or bigger than usual.

Also, blood clots and other conditions that affect the cardiovascular system can trap blood in the veins, which may affect how these blood vessels look.

Do prominent veins affect erection or ejaculation?

Typically, prominent veins do not affect erectile function.

Conditions that affect blood flow, such as blood clots and atherosclerosis, can have a minor impact on erectile function.

Research suggests a close relationship between cardiovascular health and erectile function.

In a 2015 study, for example, researchers conclude that erectile dysfunction could be an early sign of cardiovascular disease.

Also, in an earlier study by the Heart Institute, the authors state that erectile dysfunction may precede heart attacks by 3–5 years.

Possible causes

Vein size and visibility may vary over a person’s lifetime. They can also change as a result of sexual activity, or due to an underlying health condition.

Some possible causes of prominent veins in the penis include:

Erection

During an erection, oxygenated blood from the heart flows through the cavernous artery, which supplies the three chambers of spongy tissue that make up the corpus cavernosum and the corpus spongiosum.

The increase in blood flow causes the spongy tissue to expand, resulting in an erection. The tunica albuginea keeps blood in the corpus cavernosum.

The blood will then drain through the veins near the surface of the penis and travel back to the heart and lungs. The spongy tissue will remain engorged with blood until the erection goes away.

Varicocele

A varicocele refers to enlargement of the veins that make up the pampiniform plexus in the scrotum, which is the loose skin that surrounds the testes.

Varicoceles develop during puberty and affect about 10-15% of young males.

The exact cause remains unknown, but the following factors may contribute to the formation of varicoceles:

  • reduced blood flow
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • injury or trauma to the testes

Varicoceles do not require treatment unless there is also:

  • pain
  • low sperm count
  • a lump on or near the testes
  • swelling of the scrotum

Blood clots

A blood clot, or thrombosis, is a medical condition that occurs when blood cells stick together to form solid masses in the blood vessels. Blood clots can interrupt or completely stop blood flow.

Penile blood clots can develop in the dorsal vein in the penis, resulting in a rare condition called Mondor’s disease. Mondor’s disease can lead to significant pain and swelling in the affected veins.

According to a 2018 case study, penile blood clots typically resolve on their own within 1–4 weeks.

Lymphedema

Lymphedema refers to swelling that occurs when lymph fluid incorrectly flows through the body.

Swelling due to lymphedema can make the veins more visible than usual.

Causes of lymphedema include:

  • blockages in the lymphatic system
  • cancer treatment
  • infection
  • injury
  • removal of lymph nodes
  • scar tissue buildup from surgery

Peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease occurs when scar tissue, or plaque, forms in the top or bottom of the penis. The buildup of scar tissue can cause the penis to curve or bend, which can lead to severe pain during sexual intercourse.

The scar tissue that develops may feel slightly firm to the touch. Scar tissue that calcifies can feel like a hard, solid mass beneath the skin.

Causes of Peyronie’s disease include:

  • injury
  • autoimmune disease
  • vigorous sexual activity
  • aging

Lymphangiosclerosis

The abnormal hardening of a lymph vessel in the penis characterizes lymphangiosclerosis.

Lymphangiosclerosis can develop due to:

  • injury causing tissue damage in the penis
  • circumcision
  • scarring from circumcision
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • vigorous sexual activity

Unlike a prominent vein, lymphangiosclerosis will look similar to the rest of the skin. The hardened lymph vessel usually forms just below the head of the penis and measures about 3 millimeters thick.

A doctor may perform blood tests and analyze a small tissue sample to diagnose lymphangiosclerosis.

Lymphangiosclerosis typically goes away on its own within 4–6 weeks and rarely causes complications.

People with lymphangiosclerosis should try to abstain from sexual activity, including masturbation until completely healed.

When to see a doctor

In most cases, a person will have no reason to worry if the veins in their penis appear more prominent than usual.

However, people may want to consider speaking with a doctor if the appearance of veins in their penis causes them distress, or if they experience any of the following symptoms:

  • pain during erection, ejaculation, or urination
  • swelling of the penis or testicles
  • hard, flesh colored cord on the penis
  • lumps on the penis or scrotum
  • pain in the lower abdomen or back

If any of these symptoms occur alongside prominent veins in the penis, it may indicate an underlying medical condition.

Summary

The appearance of prominent veins in the penis may cause some concern.

However, enlarged penile veins usually occur as the result of normal blood flow to and from the penis.

In rare cases, an underlying medical condition can contribute to the appearance of penile veins. These conditions include:

  • cardiovascular diseases, such as blood clots
  • Peyronie’s disease
  • lymphangiosclerosis

People may want to consider contacting their doctor if they have noticeable cord-like structures on their penis or testicles.

People should seek immediate medical attention if they experience:

  • painful erection or ejaculation
  • swelling or lumps on the penis or scrotum
  • pain in the lower back or abdomen
  • unusual discharge from the penis