Addressing men’s sexual health – Part 1

THERE are many questions and problems that men have that have not been addressed by society and the health fraternity.

Unlike women who have access to gynecology clinics, men do not usually have anywhere to go for their questions to be answered except the few men’s clinics in Maseru such as at the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA).

In this article we will answer as many questions from men as possible. The Lesotho Times would like to have an ongoing relationship with the reader by receiving your questions and having a professional answer them through this column, so feel free to write to the editor, or contact the newspaper on the details given below.

Below are some of the questions frequently asked by men and the answers by our professional:

Question: Is it possible to fracture your penis?

Answer: Yes. A penis fracture can occur when there is trauma to the erect penis.  During an erection, the penis is engorged with blood. If the penis is bent suddenly or forcefully while it’s engorged, the trauma may rupture the lining of one of the two cylinders in the penis (corpus cavernosum) responsible for erections — resulting in a penis fracture. The trauma is usually related to aggressive or acrobatic sexual intercourse or, in some cases, aggressive masturbation.

A penis fracture is a painful injury that’s often accompanied by an audible cracking sound, followed immediately by dark bruising of the penis due to blood escaping the cylinder. In some cases the tube that drains urine from the body (urethra) may be damaged as well, and blood may be visible at the urinary opening of the penis.

A penis fracture requires urgent medical attention. A penis fracture can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam, and prompt surgical repair is typically recommended. Left untreated, a penis fracture may result in deformity of the penis or the inability to have or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction).

Question: Can I get a yeast infection from my girlfriend? I thought only women got yeast infections.

Answer: It is possible for a man to contract a genital yeast infection if he has unprotected sexual intercourse with a partner who has a genital yeast infection. However, just because your girlfriend has a yeast infection doesn’t mean you will get one too. Sexual transmission of yeast infections is uncommon.

Many people are under the impression that only women get genital yeast infections. Regardless of your sex, though, prolonged antibiotic use increases your risk of a yeast infection. Also, men and women with diabetes or impaired immune systems, such as those with HIV, are more susceptible to yeast infections.

Signs and symptoms of a male yeast infection include a reddish rash, along with itching or burning at the tip of the penis. Fortunately, most male yeast infections are easily treated with an over-the-counter antifungal treatment.

If you and your partner have symptoms of genital yeast infection, it is important that you both be treated. Otherwise, you may keep re-infecting each other. Also, it’s generally recommended that you refrain from sexual contact until all signs and symptoms of the infection are gone.

Question: Does frequent masturbation affect male fertility?

Answer: Frequent male masturbation does not reduce sperm count. Male masturbation also does not affect your ability to achieve an erection. Actually, not having an orgasm (ejaculating) for several days or more may lower your fertility. This is because it may lower the number of sperm with normal shape (morphology) and ability to move (motility). Both normal morphology and motility affect your sperm’s ability to get to and fertilise your partner’s egg. Having sexual intercourse with ejaculation several times a week will maximise your chances of getting your partner pregnant, whether you masturbate or not.

Question: Is there any research to support the theory that frequent ejaculation or sex reduces the risk of prostate cancer?

Answer: The risk of prostate cancer has been looked at in many populations, including men who have had vasectomies and those who may or may not be sexually active. Research has suggested that men with a higher frequency of ejaculations may have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer. However, this difference appears to be very small and is very difficult to accurately study. At this time, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that frequent ejaculation reduces the risk of prostate cancer.

Question: I’ve noticed that my semen has a yellowish-green tint to it. Should I be concerned about discoloured semen?

Answer: Semen colour and consistency can vary based on factors such as age, diet and frequency of ejaculation. However, yellowish-green semen may indicate a prostate infection. Semen is normally a whitish, cloudy fluid. It’s usually quite thick just after ejaculation but liquefies about 20 to 30 minutes later.

Changes in the appearance of semen are usually temporary and not a health concern. However, sometimes these changes can be a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires further evaluation. If these changes persist for longer than three to four weeks, see your doctor for an evaluation.

There are many other questions to be answered about men’s sexual health, and we look forward to discussing them with you in the second part of this article. Remember to contact the editor with any queries or questions that you would like addressed in our proceeding features.

Write to: editor@lestimes.co.ls

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