Despite the care and attention most men give to their favorite organ, it is a delicate instrument, and as such, it is prone to develop problems from time to time. When something goes wrong, one of the first things a man needs to consider is whether various penis conditions are contagious. Some of the more common problems that affect the male equipment are described here, along with the critical steps that men should take in terms of penis care, not to mention safeguarding their overall health and that of their sexual partners.
1) Balanitis – Men who are uncircumcised, especially those who are lax in the personal hygiene department, often experience an inflammatory condition of the glans and foreskin known as balanitis. This condition is characterized by redness, itching, a red rash, swelling and a smelly discharge. While balanitis can seem frightening, it is actually not contagious and can’t be passed to a partner. Men who are affected should focus on keeping the area clean and moisturized, and it is best to avoid sex or masturbation during the healing process.
2) Thrush – Thrush, or yeast infection, of the penis can have similar symptoms to balanitis. It most often develops in men who have type 2 diabetes or in those whose immune systems are otherwise compromised, but it can affect nearly anyone. It may look similar to balanitis, but unlike this hygiene-related problem, thrush is highly contagious and easily passed between sexual partners. If either partner develops symptoms, both should be treated, and they should avoid intimate contact until the infection has cleared.
3) Jock itch – This fungal infection can cause moderate to severe itching and a red, raised, spreading rash. The fungus thrives in warm, moist places and often develops in the groin area. It is closely related to the organism that causes athlete’s foot and, like this unpleasant skin condition, it is highly contagious. Men with jock itch should treat the area with antifungal medications as recommended by a doctor and abstain from intimate contact until the doctor gives the all-clear.
4) Fordyice’s spots. This skin condition can appear as small, flesh-colored bumps on the surface of the penile skin. While many men are alarmed by their appearance, they are a normal occurrence and should be no cause for concern. They are not a sign of a disease, and they cannot be passed to a partner – in fact, a partner is not even likely to notice they are present.
5) Pearly penile papules. These raised, pinkish or translucent bumps tend to develop around the crown of the penis. While some men can mistake them for warts or sores, they are actually a normal anatomical variation and are completely harmless. They are not a sign of a disease and they are not contagious at all.
6) Soriasis. This autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system mistakes normal skin cells for external invaders and attacks them. The result elsewhere on the body can be raised, red patches with silvery areas of flaking skin, and these can be accompanied by severe itching. Psoriasis may also appear on the penile skin, although it is more likely to appear as a raised, red area – the silvery scales of skin tend not to be present on the penile skin. Psoriasis is an unpleasant disease, but it can’t be transmitted to a partner.
Protecting the penis – and one’s partners
The discovery that a penile condition is not contagious can be a huge relief, but before men pat themselves on the back, it is important to point out that many sexually transmitted infections have similar symptoms to the conditions described here. As a result, it is important that a man who develops any of these signs see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
In order to avoid contracting a contagious disease, it is important to follow these common-sense steps for penile care:
1) Keep it clean. Washing away sweat, body fluids and daily grime can help lower the risk of fungal infections that can be passed to a partner.
2) Always use a condom. Even in a monogamous relationship, skin-on-skin contact can facilitate the transmission of common infections, not to mention more serious sexually transmitted diseases, so covering up is a must for every encounter.
3) Urinate after sex. A stream of urine can flush away fungal spores and other organisms that would otherwise have the opportunity to penetrate into the urethra and cause infections.
4) Use a penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). A moisturizing formula that is enriched with skin-friendly nutrients can help maintain the integrity of the skin. While a cream like this doesn’t prevent infection on its own, it can help boost the body’s disease-fighting ability and is an integral part of every man’s manhood care regimen.
by John Dugan