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Grooming

For many men, genital grooming is a simple part of their penis health care routine, while for others it may be nothing more than a part-time annoyance. Keeping genitals hairless does have its benefits, but there are still definite pitfalls to both shaving and waxing that might not be immediately apparent:

Pros

  • Improves cleanliness/reduces moisture
  • Inviting/sexually stimulating
  • Can increase sensitivity during sex
  • Facilitates skin examination
  • Can be a fun partner experience
  • Makes you look bigger

Cons

  • Tedious
  • Painful (waxing)
  • Expensive (waxing)
  • Can cause irritation
  • Can cause new or spread existing infection

Some women find a polished, manscaped man erotic and even the act of shaving can be incorporated into foreplay — with the right gal, of course. You should know, however, that both shaving and waxing can cause irritation or folliculitis, and can spread viral infections, such as genital herpes or molloscum contagiosum. Even nasty bacterial infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, have been linked to the use of razors, more specifically, the sharing of razors among sports participants (guys, sometimes sharing is bad). All of this contradicts good penis health care.

If you wish to avoid shaving or waxing, a simple trim with an electric razor is always a safe bet. If you choose to groom, however, which weapons should you choose? You’re probably best off using a simple razor with mild shaving cream or soap followed by a mild moisturizing aftershave lotion or warm salt water. Avoid chemical removal techniques and electric razors if you’re opting to take it all off, as with both you risk wreaking havoc on your scrotum. Lastly, you may choose to wax. Wait… what? There’s no need to feel ashamed of a little waxing as part of your penis health care, just know that it can be expensive and painful.

Washing

Your member is a sensitive organ, a point that should always be kept in mind. For some odd reason, many men feel the need to vigorously scrub their units with powerful soaps or disinfectants to keep clean. Guys, simple washing with warm water and, if necessary, a mild soap or non-soap cleanser (such as sorbolene or glycerine cream) is more than satisfactory. Uncircumcised men should slide the foreskin back and wash the head of the exposed penis simply with warm water, not soap. Then, be sure to dry the area very well.

Both infrequent and too-frequent washing have been associated with balanitis (an inflammation of the penis or head). If you do notice irritation, avoid scented soaps or shower gels and try warm salt water instead. New clothes or even new laundry detergents can also cause irritation. If irritation persists, see a doctor.

Waxing

Many men are turning to waxing.  This can be a attractive option.  Care must be taken after waxing to improve the result.  Do no wear too-tight things. You don’t want to irritate your skin more than you have to. Wear something loose and cottony. The  redness resulting from waxing goes within a couple of hours. If it doesn’t, see your physician. It is best to repeat every 4-6 weeks. Your therapist needs at least 5mm of hair for the wax to adhere to. Some men go every 3 weeks for a back wax. Others every 2 months. The more regular the better. Young hairs come out easier.

self-examination

Particularly when sexually active, men should regularly perform genital self-examination to identify testicular cancer or any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that present themselves visibly. How regularly? Well, there is no golden rule, but once a month should be satisfactory.

For testicular cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends the following:

Once a month, after taking a bath or shower:

  • Examine each testicle individually.
  • With both hands, hold the testicle between your thumbs and fingers and roll it gently.
  • Be on the alert for any hard lumps or nodules (smooth rounded masses) or any change in the size, shape or consistency of your testes.
  • Do not mistake the epididymis (a tightly coiled tube on the upper, outer side of each testicle) or the blood vessels and spermatic cord that extend from the testicles as being cancer.

Not only is regular testicular examination a good way to catch testicular cancer early, but it also provides an opportunity to examine the penis and testicles for signs of an STI.

red flags

There are many red flags for STIs. Be vigorous in your self-examinations and know that certain STIs, such as chlamydia, can be completely asymptomatic — meaning that you may show absolutely no identifiable signs or symptoms of infection. In such cases, it’s important that you keep an open channel of communication with your sexual partners. If your partner develops an STI, there may be a chance that you gave it to them without knowing.

The American Academy of Family Physicians highlights some of the major signs and symptoms of common STIs that you should be on the lookout for:

  • Discharge from the penis: The drip could be thick and yellow or it could be watery and very slight.
  • Change in smell (including foul odor) or color of semen.
  • Blood in the semen or urine (dark color).
  • Pain during sex or when urinating or ejaculating.
  • Pain in the pelvic area.
  • Chancre sores (painless red sores) on the genital area, anus, tongue, and/or throat.
  • Flesh-colored or reddish bumps, sores or blisters on the skin of the genitals that may or may not itch.
  • Small blisters that turn into scabs on the genital area.
  • Soft, flesh-colored, cauliflower-like warts around the genital area.

In addition, many STIs, particularly viral infections like HIV or herpes, induce symptoms similar to the flu that may serve as early indicators of infection. If you notice a sore throat, swollen glands, fever, or body aches in the weeks following unprotected sex, you may want to consider following up with an STI check just to be sure.

Lastly, don’t panic if you do notice something unusual. Pearly penile papules found around the rim of the head of the penis are no need for alarm. Similarly, pimples or irritation from shaving are normal. If you are unsure, it’s always best to see a doctor first to understand what is and isn’t normal. Waiting is the worst thing you can do. If you are a little bashful, just remember: Every man has a penis! Man up and go see a doctor.

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