If you happen to have a penis, you’re probably well acquainted with it by now.
You know what makes it tick and you’d like to think you’d know when something’s up with it. After all, you’ve been living with it all your life – but it’s not always as easy as what doesn’t look normal.
Experts say there are some signs that are worth flagging up to your doctor as soon as you can – even if you think they look fairly normal for you.
If the skin at the head of your penis feels a little tight, or you see some whitish spots in the same area, you could be dealing with something called lichen sclerosus – even if you don’t feel any pain.
It’s a skin condition that may be caused by a hormone or immune system imbalance, Dr. Terlecki told Men’s Health.
“You should be especially worried if you’re uncircumcised or feel like you have to push while you pee,” Ryan added. He also warned if left untreated it could lead to cancer or a total blockage of your urinary tract.
While chaffing is common, if the patch isn’t painful or sensitive, or if you haven’t had sex in a while (which could cause the aforementioned chaffing), you could be looking at penile cancer.
If the cancer is discovered early enough it can usually be treated by topical treatment, but if you want too long, part – or all – of your penis may have to be removed. And no one wants that.
Keep in mind men over 70 are most likely to get it, but it’s always worth checking.
If you’ve noticed a more severe curve lately, you could be dealing with Peyronie’s disease. While the cause of the disease is not yet understood, it’s thought that the condition sometimes occurs after an injury to the penis when erect, according to the NHS.
The condition mostly affects men over 40, although it can happen at any age. If left untreated, it could lead to a more extreme penis curvature, pain during sex and an increased risk of broken penis. Ouch.
While testicular cancer accounts for just one per cent of all cancers that occur in men, it tends to affect younger men. Although relatively uncommon overall, testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect men between the ages of 15 and 49, according to the NHS. The telltale signs are hard, painless masses or lumps on your balls.
If caught early, 99 per cent of cases are curable. So it may be a good idea to give your balls a thorough grope at least once a month to check for any abnormalities.
This could be a sign of an enlarged prostate or kidney stones, but Joseph Sonstein M.D. of the University of Texas Medical Branch, told Men’s Health: “In the medical world, blood in the urine is cancer until proven otherwise.”
If you experience any of the above, you should book an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can.