Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by David King, Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland

Growing up, no one ever gave me the rundown on how or what I should do to keep my penis clean […] I’ve never read any reliable answer beyond washing it with water. Do I use soap? Any soap? How normal is smegma? If my penis gets itchy from smegma should I go see a doctor? If so, my GP or a urologist? — Anonymous

Key points

  • clean under the foreskin, using soap, but not too much
  • smegma is normal
  • if you have any concerns, see your GP.

'How do I clean my penis?'

It’s a shame some people think talking about cleaning and caring for our genitals is embarrassing or taboo. We probably know more about hair care than penis care.

The penis is simply another part of our anatomy, so cleaning should be relatively straight forward.

If you’ve been circumcised, where your foreskin was removed soon after birth, your penis will look something like the one in the diagram (below, right), with the head (or glans) always exposed.

But if you have a foreskin (below left and centre), there are some extra things to think about when washing, which we’ll get to soon.

'How do I clean my penis?' The Conversation, CC BY-ND Foreskin facts But first, some foreskin facts. From around the time you turn five, your foreskin separates from the head of your penis, bit by bit. This allows you to pull back your foreskin (retract it). In some boys, the foreskin can stay partially stuck to the head of the penis until puberty. You should never forcibly pull back your foreskin. That’ll be painful, you could bleed, you could scar, or have other complications. OK, now for the washing part Once your foreskin separates easily from the glans, gently retract and clean underneath the foreskin with each bath or shower. Then, after washing, pull the foreskin forward to its normal position. When it’s time to dry off, retract the foreskin again so you can dry the head of the penis with a towel. Then, you guessed it, pull the foreskin forward to its normal position. It’s OK to clean with soap whether you have a foreskin or not. But generally, too much soap is worse than none at all. Excessive cleaning removes essential body oils that would normally keep our skin moist and reduce friction. If you have sensitive skin, you can use a soap-free wash from the chemist. What about smegma? Smegma is a thick, whitish discharge consisting of a build-up of dead skin cells, oil and other fluids under the foreskin. And it’s very useful. It protects and lubricates the penis. Some people have oilier skin than others and tend to have more smegma. So some smegma is normal, but if you have too much or it becomes smelly, you may need to clean more. Things to watch out for (and when to see your GP) If the head of your penis becomes painful, red, itchy and has a discharge, you may have a treatable condition called balanitis. It’s more common if you have a foreskin. And the bacteria and fungus that cause it like the warm and moist conditions under there. Skin disorders, infection, poor hygiene, friction from sexual activity, and using too much soap all cause the condition. Read more: How to make your next sexual health check less, erm ... awkward You can clear a mild case with good hygiene and simple treatments, such as an antiseptic or antifungal cream. You can buy these from any pharmacy. In addition to the medication, the cream itself helps protect and moisturise the inflammed skin. If you have balanitis you may need to be more careful than usual to avoid urine irritating your inflamed skin. Retract your foreskin when you urinate. Dry the head of the penis gently after you finish. If your penis is still inflamed after a week of these simple measures it’s best to see your GP. They can then investigate other causes, such as psoriasis or an allergy. I Need to Know is our series for teens in search of reliable, confidential advice about life’s tricky questions. Here are some questions we’ve already answered.

Authors: David King, Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-do-i-clean-my-penis-125135

Writers Wanted

How the stunning abstract art of Hilma af Klint opens our eyes to new ways of seeing

arrow_forward

Home quarantine for vaccinated returned travellers is extremely low risk, and won't damage their mental health

arrow_forward

Boom in Aussies buying up restaurants, pubs, hotels and bars in regional centres

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister interview with Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Karl Stefanovic: PM, good morning to you. Do you have blood on your hands?   PRIME MINISTER: No, it's obviously absurd. What we're doing here is we've got a temporary pause in place because we'v...

Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon - avatar Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon

Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivered Keynote Address at AFR Business Summit

Well, thank you all for the opportunity to come and be with you here today. Can I also acknowledge the Gadigal people, the Eora Nation, the elders past and present and future. Can I also acknowled...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Morrison Government commits record $9B to social security safety net

The Morrison Government is enhancing our social security safety net by increasing support for unemployed Australians while strengthening their obligations to search for work.   From March the ...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Boom in Aussies buying up restaurants, pubs, hotels and bars in regional centres

With international borders closed, regional Australia is seeing a dramatic surge in popularity as people move out of the cities and into their quaint communities. City slickers are looking for new...

Tess Sanders Lazarus - avatar Tess Sanders Lazarus

5 Signs Your Business Needs Onboarding Software

Onboarding software is the technology that automates a smooth transition for new hires from before the interview to the first day on the job. High-quality onboarding platforms feature a digital da...

Onboarded - avatar Onboarded

What Is COVID 19 Risk Assessment for Vulnerable Workers and Why Your Business Needs it

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments strongly advised people to just stay at home as a critical effort to stop the spread of the virus. This led to many businesses temporarily s...

NewsServices.com - avatar NewsServices.com