The human body is an efficient machine, capable of handling a variety of tasks without receiving any sort of direction whatsoever. Much of the body's fluids are produced via these unconscious methods, developing whether a man wants them or not. Most men discover this fact when they first discover a thick, vaguely smelly coating on the tip of the penis, which is often mistaken for male yeast infection. This substance is known as smegma, and while it's not necessarily harmful, it can cause problems if it's not dealt with as part of a daily penis health regimen.
What Is It?
Put plainly, smegma is made up of dead skin cells, held together with secretions from the glands that line the penis. Smegma can also contain bits of lubricant from a sex session, as well as trace amounts of perfume or soap. The resulting substance is somewhat slick, and it's been compared to both cottage cheese and milk, due to its whitish appearance and somewhat fetid smell. In circumcised men, the substance tends to collect beneath the head of the penis, although it might also be rubbed away on nearby clothing. Uncircumcised men might notice smegma when they roll away the foreskin.
What Does It Do?
Experts have debated the role of smegma for decades. Some say that it serves no purpose at all, and that develops solely as a byproduct of normal cell processes. Just as material might collect in the corners of the eye as the cells of the eyelid slough off and mix with tears, smegma forms when penis cells die and mix with glandular material in the penis, these experts say.
Others suggest that smegma plays an important role in allowing the foreskin to slide away from the penile tissues it covers. The substance is slick, and it can keep tissues apart, which might reduce the sensation of friction and allow the head of the penis to peek out from its protective covering when action begins. These experts suggest that smegma actually makes sex possible.
Is It Harmful?
If a little smegma could help a man with a foreskin to hit the playing field a little earlier, too much of the substance could keep him sidelined for good. Those dead tissue cells are a particular delicacy for bacteria, and when a significant amount of smegma stays in place for days on end, these invaders can set up camp and cause irritation and swelling. A man with this condition may not even be able to achieve an erection, due to the pain and swelling associated with the infection.
Even men who have been circumcised could develop difficulties if they don't amend their smegma content on a regular basis. These men may also play host to colonies of bacteria, and while the infections won't cause skin to stick together, they can cause pain and inflammation.
How Should It Be Dealt With?
A quick rinse with warm water, performed on a daily basis, can keep smegma from overtaking penile tissue. Unfortunately, some men overcorrect and attack the area with:
- Harsh soaps
- Antifungal sprays
These products can irritate penile tissues, and in response, those wounded cells might release yet more fluids. This can lead to yet more smegma, as well as yet more pain. Being gentle with cleaning could keep this problem from taking place.
Using a penis health creme may also be beneficial. Well-designed products (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) contain Vitamin A, which can help to keep bacterial colonies in check. Without these invaders, smell associated with smegma might be reduced. A penis health creme also contains Vitamin E and Shea butter, which can keep penile skin supple and healthy. Rather than shedding cells at a rapid pace, skin nourished with emollients might be firm and intact, less likely to contribute to smegma production.