When it comes to one’s sexual health, most people tend to take it for granted. Some men even take a wait and see approach. While some people can get lucky and never encounter a sexually transmitted infection, an estimated 50% of sexually active adults will contract one at some point in their life. Thus, it pays to be proactive and take charge of one’s sexual health to prevent a more serious problem down the line. Learning how to be proactive when it comes to men’s health and to exercise proper penis care can prevent problems before they start, and knowing the signs of some common STDs can help men – and their partners - to get the treatment they need before serious consequences develop.
1. Know the Signs and Symptoms
A very common sexually transmitted infection, or STI, a man can encounter these days is gonorrhea. Though most men have heard of it, few would know what to look for or what to do if the symptoms were present. Part of being proactive about one’s health is being informed. Information is key and knowing the symptoms means a greater likelihood of seeking treatment early on, and preventing the spread of the infection to one’s partner.
Unfortunately, gonorrhea can be especially difficult to diagnose, because some individuals carry the infection without having any symptoms. This means they more easily transmit the infection to a partner -- as they may be unaware they are carrying it until their partner becomes symptomatic. For this reason, it is important to know the symptoms that are experienced by both men and women, as one individual in the partnership may be asymptomatic and still infect the other.
Symptoms are most likely to appear 2 to 10 days after exposure, but may take up to 30 days in some cases.
Symptoms experienced by men
· Penile discharge – often greenish yellow or white in color
· Burning during urination
· Tender, swollen testicles
· Burning of the throat or swollen glands in the throat, caused by oral sex with an infected partner
Symptoms experienced by women
- Vaginal discharge – often greenish yellow or white in color
- Burning during urination
- Bleeding outside of menstruation periods
- Pain in lower abdomen or pelvic pain
- Swelling of the vulva
- Spotting or light bleeding after sex
- Red, itchy eyes – also known as conjunctivitis
- Burning of the throat or swollen glands in the throat, caused by oral sex with an infected partner
2. Know what to expect from a doctor’s appointment
For people who are symptomatic, it may be apparent to the doctor what is going on, but the diagnosis will still be confirmed via a swab test. Individuals who are asymptomatic but have recent known exposure, or just want to be tested to make sure, can also be diagnosed via a simple fluid swab. The doctor will swab the male urethra, or the female cervix, and the sample will be analyzed for signs of gonorrhea. Throat and anal cultures are also conducted if there is reason to test for the infection in those areas. In some cases, doctors may prefer to conduct a simple urine screen to test for bacteria in the urine to make a diagnosis. Test results can take several days to come in, and one should abstain from sexual contact if gonorrhea is suspected, in order to prevent passing it on.
3. Know How is Gonorrhea treated
A round of antibiotics easily cures gonorrhea. If one partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea, the other partner should be tested and simultaneously treated to prevent spreading the infection back and forth to one another. As with any infection, one must always finish the entire round of antibiotics – even if symptoms disappear – failure to do so may lead to a relapse of the condition.
4. Know How to Maintain Penis Health
Here are a few quick tips to maintaining penis health; after all, it is the only one a man is ever going to get, so he should really take care of it!
- If one becomes infected with gonorrhea – or any other STI – all recent partners must be informed so they can get tested. Sure, it can be embarrassing to talk about, but untreated STI’s can cause sterility, extreme sickness, or even death, so not telling is simply not an option.
- Do not have sex until the full round of antibiotics has been completed and the doctor has verified a clean bill of health. The infection can still be spread during treatment!
- Always, always use a condom during sex. It is the best way to protect the penis from STI’s.
- Any person who is not in a monogamous relationship, should regularly be screened for all STI’s, including HIV/AIDS.
- Use a high-quality penis vitamin cream on a daily basis to keep the penis healthy and virile. An all-natural penis oil (most professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can keep the skin smooth, fight bacteria, and even increase sensitivity at the same time.