Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sexual Health Traps Condoms Can't Save You From

A condom is a handy birth control option that is easily accessible and used. They are popular forms of birth control since they also provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Probably the most accessible form of birth control today, condoms are available in drugstores, groceries, and even convenience stores. Community clinics, hospitals, and Planned Parenthood offices sometimes even provide free condoms. Condoms, or rubbers as they are popularly known, are also considered as the only method of contraception that provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

However, STDs are not the only threats to male sexual health around. And there are threats that even the mightiest condom cannot prevent or stop. These are:

* Priapism

Priapism is often termed as the opposite of erectile dysfunction. In this case, a man experiences a painful erection which often lasts for four hours or even longer. Priapism occurs when blood flows into the penis but is not drained sufficiently. Since priapism is not an effect of sexual activity, it cannot be relieved by masturbation and orgasm.

Some of the most common causes of priapism include blood pressure medications and antidepressants, drug use and alcohol, anesthesia, blood diseases, and penile injection therapy.

Treatment for priapism usually come in the form of medical emergencies. Blood is drained out of the penis by using a needle to relieve the erection and restore normal organ function. Medications for priapism are designed to shrink penile blood vessels to minimize blood flow. However, treatment of underlying conditions is preferred to prevent priapism or its recurrence.

* Balanitis and Balanoposthitis

Balanitis refers to the inflammation of the glans or penis's head. On the other hand, balanoposthitis is the inflammation of both the glans and the foreskin. Both disorders exhibit similar symptoms like rash, pain, swelling, foul discharge, and itching in the penile area. These disorders are common in men and boys who have poor personal hygiene and are uncircumcised.

Irritants the cause balantis and balanoposthitis include dead skin cells, tight foreskins, infections, dermatitis, and diabetes.

Circumcision and the practice of proper hygiene can prevent and alleviate both disorders. However, the best way to treat these disorders is by treatment of underlying conditions especially if the irritations are caused by infections, dermatitis, and diabetes.

* Phimosis

Although it is not really a disease, phimosis is a condition that can cause one. Phimosis occurs when the foreskin is too tight that it cannot be retracted to reveal the head of the penis. This condition can cause extreme discomfort when it comes to sexual activity, urination, and personal hygiene.

Common causes of phimosis include birth defects, scar tissues, infection, and balanitis. Treatment for this condition usually includes gentle manual stretching of the foreskin to increase its elasticity. Circumcision and medication to loosen the skin are also popular options in treating phimosis. For a less traumatic treatment than circumcision, some opt for preputioplasty or separating the glans from the foreskin.

* Penile Cancer

A rare form of cancer, penile cancer occurs when abnormal cell growth in the penis increase and grow. Non-cancerous or benign penile tumors can also develop into cancer over time. Symptoms of penile cancer often take the form of penile sores, bleeding, and abnormal discharge. The cause of penile cancer is not definite but there are certain risk factors that increase a man's chances of developing this disease.

Some of these risks include being uncircumcised, smoking, smegma, age, human papilloma virus, phimosis, and psoriasis treatment.

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Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

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