The penis is a particularly touchy subject for many men to discuss even with their doctor. A normal penis is generally obvious while an abnormal one is easy to spot. However, for a variety of reasons, the man who has an abnormal penis may feel unwilling or uncomfortable about discussing the organ. For some, it is truly an object of pride, one they assume confirms their ability to dominate their female peers.
The penis is also easy to understand: it has three parts which are distinct, but dovetail into one another to make the organ we all appreciate. It has a root, a shaft and a head. The root is attached to the lower part of the abdomen by two structures resembling chords. The body or shaft gives the organ the length that fascinates many men. The shaft links the root with the glans, the tip which looks like a cone. It is also called the head. The entire structure of the penis resembles a pair of cylinders wrapped up in a cushion of skin.
The major structure found at the tip of the penis is the urethra, a tube which helps to pass urine from the bladder to the outside or carry semen from the testes into the vagina. The features of a disorder of the penis are obvious and easy to spot. They also cause some noticeable effects on sexual function and on urination. Sometimes, the features could cause some profound embarrassment to an adult, as well as children who may suffer such problems. The common features of a disease of the penis can be any of the following;
The penis may have its urethra positioned under the shaft. This is called hypospadias and the opening can be found anywhere from that junction between the shaft of the penis and the scrotum, and all the way to the head of the penis. Typically, this abnormal condition is corrected through an operation. In hypospadias, the patients often have to squat in order to urinate properly.When the opening is found on the top of the penis, it is called epispadias. The urine, in this case, and in the former are unable to describe a proper arc. In this case, the urine is passed as though from a fountain. In a recently examined male infant, the urine often curved backwards to sometimes enter the mouth; which made the parents very distressed.Balanitis is another problem a penis can have. It means inflammation of the head of the penis or the glans. It is often easily treated with proper antibiotics.In the same way, an inflammation of the foreskin of the penis is known as balanoposthitis. This is not a common problem seen in this part of the world because nearly all males here are circumcised. It is the foreskin that is usually removed at circumcision.Erectile dysfunction is another common feature of the male, especially in the middle age. Sometimes, it results because there is some associated disease condition like hypertension, high cholesterol levels and diabetes. Men are increasingly living longer and staying more active sexually and otherwise so that they are usually found to harbour this problem. Even so, many are reticent to volunteer the required information, except when they believe their masculinity is being questioned. Sometimes, even this topic is discussed in hushed tones. Several medications are now available to treat the condition.A situation of persistent erection of the penis such that it causes pain is an obvious abnormality. It is known as priapism which is a topic we have talked about before on this page. It is a distressing condition requiring emergency treatment to save the penis.Any penis that has a discharge of any sort or colour is one that must be treated without any undue delay. The affected person needs to report to the nearest hospital for diagnosis and treatment. The discharge may have any kind of colour and may even be blood. Sometimes, these conditions may require expert attention superior to that available from the regular doctor. In such a situation, as in several others above, it is important to see a urologist for examination and treatment.When a penis is bent while erect, this is obvious too. Such bending is often painful. It occurs in a disease of the penis called Peyronie’s disease. For people with this kind of condition, sex is an ordeal. Erection of the penis is dreaded, but treatment is always advisable.Primary syphilis is a condition characterised by the appearance of a small, painless ulcer usually on the glans of the penis, but sometimes also on the shaft. This is an obvious situation that can be confirmed by performing simple investigations to confirm it.The last of these evident conditions known to befall the penis is penile cancer. Fortunately, it is a rare condition, but the diagnosis of that disease in any man frequently leads to radical and very disfiguring treatment targeted at saving life.
When most of these conditions are suspected in any patient, the most profitable thing to do is to let a urologist evaluate them at some point, especially when they do not seem to be doing well with the treatment they have been on. On consultation with that urologist, a basic history of the illness will be taken from the patient and a record of all the medications the patient has been using is mandatorily taken. This is important because some of the drugs may be responsible for the current condition or may interfere adversely with the medicines which the person must now take. As in many other health conditions, the earlier the diagnosis is made the better. A doctor’s assessment early on is very vital.
Once a diagnosis has been made, it is imperative to follow it up with the required treatment. When there is pain due to priapism or to Peyronie’s disease, an early assessment has to be made. Both conditions are amenable to corrective surgery, but in Peyronie’s disease, many doctors would prefer to wait a year or two to allow the swelling associated with the condition to simply disappear before seeking to operate on it. Balanoposthitis is easily treated by performing a circumcision, while balanitis and syphilis can readily be cured with the use of antibiotics. But the first step in all of this is to get a doctor to assess the condition and determine the cause.