Male genital problems and
injuries can occur fairly easily since the
scrotum and penis are not protected by bones. Genital
problems and injuries most commonly occur during:
- Sports or recreational activities, such as
mountain biking, soccer, or baseball.
- Work-related tasks, such as
exposure to irritating chemicals.
- Sexual activity.
A genital injury often causes severe pain that usually goes
away quickly without causing permanent damage. Home treatment is usually all
that is needed for minor problems or injuries. Pain, swelling, bruising, or
rashes that are present with other symptoms may be a cause for concern.
Male genital conditions
Testicular cancer. This is the most
common cancer in men 15 to 35 years old. Testicular cancer is more common in
white men than in black men. Many growths in the scrotum or testicles are not
cancer (benign). But a painless lump in a testicle may be a sign of
erection problem. This may occur when blood vessels
that supply the penis are injured. A man may not be able to have an erection
(erectile dysfunction), or the erection may not go away naturally (priapism),
which is a medical emergency.
Torsion of a testicle. This occurs when a testicle twists on the spermatic cord and
cuts off the blood supply to the testicle. This is a medical emergency.
- Scrotal problems. These problems may include a painless buildup of
fluid around one or both testicles (hydrocele) or
an enlarged vein (varicose vein) in the scrotum (varicocele).
Usually these are minor problems but may need to be evaluated by your doctor.
- Problems with the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis. Conditions
that make it hard to pull the foreskin back from the head of the penis
(phimosis) or that prevent a tightened, retracted
foreskin from returning to its normal position over the head of the penis
(paraphimosis) need to be evaluated.
Hypospadias. This is a common birth defect where the
urethra does not extend to the tip of the
Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism).
This occurs when one or both testicles have not moved down into the
inguinal hernia. A hernia occurs when a small portion
of the bowel bulges out through the inguinal canal into the
kidney stone. A stone forms from minerals in urine
that crystallize and harden. Kidney stones are usually painless while they
remain in the kidney. But they can cause severe pain as they break loose and
travel through narrow tubes to exit the body.
sebaceous cyst. A cyst that is filled with a
cheeselike, greasy material may develop beneath the outer layer of the skin in
Infections can occur in any area of the
- A testicle (orchitis).
- The epididymis (epididymitis).
- The urethra (urethritis).
- The prostate (prostatitis).
- The bladder (cystitis).
- A simple hair follicle (abscess) or deeper abscess in the scrotum that may
involve the testicles, epididymis, or urethra.
- The genital area, such as genital herpes or, in rare cases, Fournier's gangrene.
- The head of the penis. The infection may occur under the foreskin. This is called balanitis.
You may notice blood in the semen. Infection or inflammation is the most common cause of blood in the semen.
Rashes in the groin area have
many causes, such as ringworm or yeast. Most rashes
can be treated at home.
A rash may be the first symptom of a
sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you may have
been exposed to an STI, do not have sexual contact or activity until you have
been evaluated by your doctor. This will reduce the risk of spreading a
possible infection to your sex partner. Your sex partner may also need to be
evaluated and treated.
Male genital problems may be related to whether or not the
penis is circumcised. For more information, see
Little boys may play with
toys or other objects near their penis and accidentally cause an injury.
Anything wrapped around the penis or an object in the penis needs immediate
evaluation to avoid problems.
If you use a urinary catheter to
drain your bladder, your doctor will give you instructions on when to call to
report problems. Be sure to follow the instructions your doctor gave
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you
should see a doctor.
Home treatment measures can help
relieve pain, swelling, and bruising and promote healing after a genital
injury. These home treatment measures also may be helpful for noninjury
problems. But if you think you may have a more severe injury, use first
aid measures while you arrange for an evaluation by your doctor.
Home treatment for a minor injury
Rest. Rest and protect
an injured or sore area.
Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an
ice or cold pack immediately to reduce swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack
for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. A bag of frozen peas or corn
may work as a cold pack. Protect your skin from frostbite by placing a cloth
between the ice and the skin. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply
warmth to the area.
Support. While recovering from a genital injury, wear jockey
shorts, not boxers, to help support the injured area. You can use a jock strap
if it helps relieve your pain.
Medicine you can buy without a prescription
| Try a nonprescription
medicine to help treat your fever or pain:
Acetaminophen, such as
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
- Ibuprofen, such as
Advil or Motrin
- Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
| Be sure to follow these
safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
- Carefully read and follow all directions
on the medicine bottle and box.
- Do not take more than the
- Do not take a medicine if you have had an
allergic reaction to it in the past.
you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take
- If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other
than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.
Home treatment measures may also be helpful for:
Yeast infections that cause a fiery red
rash with a scalloped border and sharply outlined edges in skin folds.
Jock itch, which is a fungus (ringworm)
infection of the skin that may cause a rash and blisters.
Minor cuts or skin wounds with mild bleeding.
lump on the scrotal skin, such as a sebaceous cyst.
Minor rashes that are red and itchy. These may be caused by contact with a
substance (contact dermatitis), such as poison ivy, that causes an allergic
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
Signs of an infection develop, such as
swelling, redness, fever, or pus.
- Urinary symptoms, such as burning with urination, blood in urine, or frequent urination,
- A rash gets
worse or has not improved.
become more severe or frequent.
The following prevention measures may help
you reduce your risk of problems in the genital area. If you find a lump,
growth, or other change in the genital area, check your symptoms to determine if and when you need to see your doctor.
You may want to do a
testicular self-exam once a month. The best time to do
the exam is after a warm bath or shower when the scrotal skin is
Male teens, young men, and men who have had
undescended testicles or a family history of
testicular cancer have an increased risk for
developing testicular cancer.
If you are concerned about an
undescended testicle in your baby, talk to your baby's doctor.
Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
take measures to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a
sexually transmitted infection (STI). You can also
reduce the risk of transmitting an STI to your sex partner. Know
high-risk behaviors and the
symptoms of STIs.
activity until you are prepared both physically and emotionally to have sex.
Nearly two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25 years old.
teenagers are at high risk for STIs because they
frequently have unprotected sex and have multiple partners. Biological changes
during the teen years also may increase the risk of getting an STI.
Practice safer sex
Preventing a sexually transmitted
infection (STI) is easier than treating an infection once it occurs.
- Talk with your partner about STIs before
beginning a sexual relationship. Find out if he or she is at risk for an STI.
Remember that it is quite possible to be infected with an STI without knowing
it. Some STIs, such as
HIV, can take up to 6 months before they can be
detected in the blood. Ask about the following:
- How many sex partners has your new
potential partner had?
high-risk behaviors does he or she
- Has he or she ever had an STI?
- Was it treated and
- If the STI is not curable, what is the best way to protect
- Be responsible and practice safer sex.
- Avoid sexual contact or activity if you
symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an
- Avoid sexual contact or activity with anyone who has symptoms
of an STI or who may have been exposed to an STI.
- Abstain from sexual intercourse to prevent any
exposure to STIs.
- Don't have more than one sex partner at a time.
Your risk of an STI increases if you have several sex partners at the same
Condoms can be used not only to prevent
pregnancy but also to help protect against
sexually transmitted infections. Use a condom during
vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a new partner until you are certain that he or
she does not have any sexually transmitted infections, including human
immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
A male condom is placed over a man's erect penis before sex. Condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths," or "skins."
The female condom is a tube of soft plastic (polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.
In a long-term, single-partner (monogamous) relationship,
partners may choose to quit using condoms to prevent STIs. But using some
form of birth control is important to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
Jock itch and yeast infection
Steps to prevent
jock itch (fungal infection of the skin in the groin) or
yeast infection (cutaneous candidiasis) include the
- Dry yourself well after bathing. Use a hair
dryer to dry your groin area.
- Wear cotton underwear and
loose-fitting clothes. Avoid tight pants.
- Use a powder to absorb
- If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your
underwear. This can prevent fungi from spreading from your feet to your groin
when you put on your underwear.
- Change out of a wet bathing suit
soon after swimming so that your skin can dry out.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
Before your appointment
- If you have a genital rash, do not have sexual
contact or activity while waiting for your appointment. This will reduce the
risk of transmitting a possible infection to your partner. If you do have an
STI, your sex partner or partners need to be evaluated and treated also.
Questions to prepare for your doctor appointment
- What are your main symptoms? How long have you
had your symptoms?
- Have you had this problem before? If so, do you
know what caused the problem at that time? How was it treated?
activities make your symptoms better or worse? What sports do you participate
- How and when did an injury occur? How was it
- Have you had any injuries in the past to the same area? Do
you have any continuing problems because of the previous
- Have you had infections or rashes in the genital area in
- Do you engage in
high-risk sexual behaviors? Do you think you have been
exposed to a
sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
your sex partner have any genital symptoms or problems?
- Have you
had any genital surgeries or procedures?
- Do you perform testicular
self-examination? How often?
- What home treatment measures have you
tried? Did they help?
- What prescription and nonprescription
medicines have you taken? Did they help?
- Do you have any
Groin Problems and Injuries
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 11 and Younger
Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older