GUYS DON’T OFTEN TALK ABOUT THEIR JUNK (at least not honestly).
But if something’s wrong, you need a professional opinion. Don’t be shy: Pain and erectile issues are common, says Hadley Wood, M.D., a urologist at Cleveland Clinic. Some are confined to the organ, she says, but “other times they signal larger medical problems.” Learn the difference.
It Hurts to Pee
Best case: An irritant, such as soap, made its way into your urethra.
Worst case: You have urethritis, a bacterial infection often paired with clear or milky leakage.
The fix: Peeing will flush out irritants, says Peter Stahl, M.D., a urologist at Columbia University. But if the pain persists or if you’ve had unprotected sex in the past 3 weeks, your infection could be caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. See a doctor about antibiotics.
It’s Slow to Rise
Best case: Yep, brewer’s droop (i.e., too many beers).
Worst case: Psychological factors (like depression) or prescription meds can cause this. In men over age 45, ED can also be an early warning sign of heart disease or diabetes.
The fix: Antidepressants and blood pressure pills are common culprits; talk to your doc about your prescription. If you suspect the problem is in your head, talking with your partner or even a therapist can help.
It Won’t Go Down
Best case: There’s no best-case scenario, but your odds of persistent erection are slim, about one in 67,000.
Worst case: You could have “low-flow priapism,” or blood trapped in your penis. Sickle-cell disease and drugs (including ED meds) can play a role, but sometimes the trigger is unknown.
The fix: “Untreated, it can turn into lifelong ED,” says Dr. Wood. So hit the emergency room, stat. The tissue will need to be drained.
You Have a Rash
Best case: It may be a friction burn from running or wild sex, or a reaction to a new detergent.
Worst case: You have an STD; syphilis, in particular, may appear as a totally painless rash.
The fix: Did you have unprotected sex? Schedule a screening to rule out infection. But if you think it’s an allergic reaction or simple chafing, just apply antibiotic ointment to relieve the pain. If the rash persists after 2 weeks, go see your M.D.
You Have Spots
Best case: Environmental irritants might be to blame, and a scrotum speck might just be an ingrown hair.
Worst case: It’s genital herpes or syphilis. Or it’s a reaction to prescription meds (a “fixed drug eruption”).
The fix: If the pain lasts beyond 2 weeks or you’ve had unprotected sex, see a doctor. But if it’s an ingrown hair, speed healing by applying a warm washcloth for 30 seconds twice a day, says Dr. Wood.
You See Blood
Best case: Calm down. “Guys freak out if they see blood- or rust-colored semen, but that is almost never associated with a problem,” says Dr. Wood.
Worst case: It’s a prostate or testicle infection or, less likely, cancer.
The fix: If red semen is your only symptom, don’t go crazy with worry. But if ejaculating hurts or you see blood in your urine, you could have a serious infection or cancer. Make an appointment now.