When it comes to the sensitive topic of male reproductive issues, we men tend to clam up around our mates. This might be due to the fear of being stigmatized, appearing less manly and incapable of keeping our family line going.
We are often left to figure it out for ourselves, scouring the internet for articles such as this one, on how to keep our “down there” healthy.
Even though we may not be discussing it much among peers, it is important to actively learn how to take care of our reproductive health and especially our male member.
Common problems of the male reproductive system include the dreaded erectile dysfunction or the inability to get an erection, decreased libido, and infections. More uncommon ones are penile fractures and Peyronie’s disease (curved penis due to scar tissue). These could be caused by different factors, such as age, chronic diseases, poor hygiene and careless sexual decisions.
In case you experience any issues with sexual dysfunction or other issues related to your penis, please do consult with your physician immediately.
But remember, prevention is better than cure, so here are five simple lifestyle practices you can do today to keep yourself from experiencing below-the-belt embarrassment:
1. Responsible sexual behaviors
Be protected from sexually-transmitted diseases- use a condom whenever you engage in sexual activity with a new partner. Staying in a mutually monogamous relationship with a healthy partner can also curb the risks of getting such diseases.
Treat your penis gently and avoid rough intercouse. Penile fractures are often caused by accidentally striking your erect penis at your partner’s pelvis, breaking the tubular tissues in your penis, which can cause immense pain.
Peyronie’s disease is characterized by the painful scarring of the penis, causing it to curve or bend in one direction, causing the loss of length.
After sexual intercourse, make sure to urinate and wash your male member. Peeing after sex helps flush out bacteria from your urethra, reducing the chances of developing urinary tract infections (UTI). In case you are uncircumcised, return your foreskin back to its place to avoid paraphimosis or the condition where your foreskin gets stuck behind the head of your penis due to swelling.
2. Practice proper genital hygiene
Overall personal hygiene is important to clean your body of dead skin cells and bacteria, and to minimize the risk of infection and diseases that can result from germs and other microbes. The same applies to your genital area.
Smegma is the thick, cheesy white substance that builds up under the foreskin of the penis, more common in uncircumcised men. When this is not washed off properly, it can harbor unhealthy bacteria, which can cause a bad smell or infections, such as UTI.
The genital area has more sensitive skin compared to the rest of the body, so use only mild soaps for cleaning and wash thoroughly, but avoid scrubbing roughly.
Wash your genital area (and whole body) at least once per day.
3. Engage in physical activities
By being physically healthy, you could reduce the risks of obesity, heart ailments, and other chronic diseases, all of which are risk factors for erectile dysfunction.
Research also found that exercising for at least thirty minutes three times a week may boost sperm count and improve fertility. Being physically active will also improve your libido and sexual stamina.
A word of caution: after a heavy workout, you may notice your scrotum and penis shrinking. Don’t worry, this is completely normal and temporary. When you exercise, your body pumps blood to your muscles, reducing the flow to your genital area.
The use of steroids to speed up the bulking process or for any other purpose may in turn shrink your penis size, and can also cause erectile dysfunction and loss of sexual drive. Steroids create a sudden surge in testosterone, which may throw your hormonal levels off-balance, the risk being higher if you already have hormonal balance.
Again, these effects are temporary and everything will go back to normal, when you stop taking steroids.
4. Say goodbye to your smoking and drinking vices
Regular use of cigarettes and consumption of alcoholic drinks can negatively affect your reproductive system and fertility.
Cigarettes contain toxins that can damage your penile blood vessels and lead to reduction in penis length. Apart from increasing the risks of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions, smoking is closely linked to erectile dysfunction.
Alcohol-related erectile dysfunction, commonly known as “whiskey-dick”, occurs when a man cannot get an erection and experience decreased sensitivity and sensations in the penis, due to intoxication. Heavy alcohol consumption affects nerve function by depressing the nervous system, affecting reaction time, coordination, and brain function.
5. Healthy eating habits
A balanced diet means consuming a wide range of food in the right proportions. Eating well can provide all the micro and macro-nutrients that your body needs and keep all your body organs functioning well.
However, if you want to boost your sperm count and your overall reproductive health, include more of these penis-friendly food choices on your diet:
- Vegetables such as carrots, spinach and other leafy greens
- Breakfast drink / food such as coffee and oats
- Fruits such as apples, avocados and tomatoes
Nutrients that are associated with male reproductive health and sexual vitality are folate, magnesium, vitamin E, carotenoids, L-arginine, lycopene, zinc, flavonoids, etc.
Keeping your penis strong and healthy does not mean focusing only on that one body part- it is about achieving overall health and fitness. Responsible choices, hygiene, exercising, letting go of vices and good eating habits- these practices are easy to incorporate into your daily grind and can help you achieve your whole health, where every part of your body is happy.