Everything you need to know about smegma
We all know that intimate hygiene for men is often something that isn’t talked about. No mother wants to have that conversation with her son about what is going on down there, and locker room talk doesn’t really extend to something wrong with the apparatus. Men's intimate care is often overlooked in the education, simply because no one wants to talk about it. One of the common problems that men often have is a condition called smegma.
What is smegma?
Smegma is a combination of exfoliated (shed) epithelial cells, skin oils, and moisture. It occurs in both female and male genitalia, circumcised and un-circumcised, though is most common with uncircumcised males. This build-up of cells normally helps to clean and lubricate the genitals, and keep them ready for intercourse. It is a normal and natural occurrence, in small quantities. However, a large build-up is unhealthy and can cause problems such as a foul odor, inflammation or irritation of the penis, and may even lead to cancer.
What are the causes of this condition?
In men, the buildup often occurs when they are un-circumcised, with the buildup happening in between the foreskin and the head of the penis. It can also happen with a circumcised male, though the build-up is often smaller and can be more noticeable. This can cause the foreskin of the penis to stik to the glans of the penis and make it do that the foreskin is not able to be retracted at all. In females, the accumulation of sebum combined with dead skin cells forms the white cottage cheese looking compound. S. clitoridis is the secretion of the glands of the clitoris, in combination with dead epithelial cells. Glands that are located around the clitoris and the vulva majoris secrete sebum. Once this is contaminated, the problems arise. However, it generally will all usually disappear when the cause is removed. If the build-up gets too large, the clitoral hood may stick to the shaft and glans of the clitoris. This also may be painful.
More often than not, the cause is simply a lack of personal hygiene. If genitalia is not washed and taken care of properly at regular intervals, the build-up is allowed to accumulate and will produce visible and odorous responses. Thus, men's intimate care is very important when looking at the body as a whole.
This condition often occurs in young boys and older men. Young boys are generally just learning to clean themselves and thus are not as through as they need to be in order to keep this build-up from occurring. Older men often neglect themselves, which will cause the same issue.
How can I prevent it?
This condition is fairly easy to prevent. At a young age, children should be taught to wash themselves thoroughly, and taught exactly how to wash themselves in such a way as to ensure cleanliness is achieved. Young boys, regardless of circumcision, should be taught to clean themselves fully, as this condition can occur with circumcised penises as well as uncircumcised penises. Explain to them that they need to make sure that the foreskin is fully retracted when it is cleaned, to make sure that they are using clean hands and water, to never use soap, and to always dry themselves with a clean towel and put clean underwear on afterwards.
Using a special washgel can be very helpful in keeping the penis clean, it will enable you to wash more thorougly. Always use a neutral washing gel that protects the sensitive skin of the penis. If no tap water is around, you can use special intimate wipes to clean up.
Is it permanent? Can I get it treated?
No, it is not permanent, and yes you can treat it very very easily. Most often, if you go to a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment of this condition, the doctor will simply tell you to wash better. Because soap can sometimes be an aggravator, the suggestion is to always wash thoroughly with water until the visible particles are gone. Then, once the condition is under control, be sure to wash thoroughly and consistently. There are some products that can be used to hasten the process of getting rid of it, as well as being used to keep the condition at bay. These options for men are talked about later on in the article.
Is it an STD?
This condition is NOT a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) all on its own. This is simply the build-up of epidermal cells and moisture, both of which are normal and relatively harmless to you. This is NOT something that can be passed from person to person, and will not harm your partner. However, if the condition appears with inflammation or other signs or symptoms, the best course of action is to go to the doctor and get an STD panel run, just to be on the safe side.
Men's intimate care is often a problem that leads to symptoms that look like STD's. If you are not taking care of yourself, then it is likely that you will end up with symptoms that will look like STD's and will cause you undue harm down the road. Make sure that you keep up on your hygiene to avoid this problem.
Does this have anything to do with Balanitis?
Balanitis is one of the most common conditions to occur when an intimate hygiene for men is lacking. It consists of inflammation that occurs at the glans of the penis. There are many causes for it, such as infection with thrush (candidiasis), bacterial infections, sexually transmitted infections, skin irritation and certain skin conditions. It is found in approximately 11% of men who frequently visit urology clinics.
It is often caused by an over production of epithelial cells and moisture. This leads to the irritation and inflammation. Treating Balanitis is almost exactly the same as treating smegma. Avoiding soaps to increase the irritation is key, along with using warm water and a clean towel. Occasionally doctors will recommend a steroid cream, antibiotics, or fungicide creams if the inflammation is serious enough. In addition, preventing Balanitis is almost exactly the same as preventing smegma. Wash thoroughly, fully, and regularly with water or specially developed products.
What happens if I have this while travelling?
Having this condition when travelling is not a pleasant experience. Often the foreskin becomes unable to be retracted with this condition, especially if left to worsen. This makes travelling uncomfortable. If you find that the condition occurs when you are travelling, at your nearest convenience try to wash yourself to clean the area of the particles to make yourself more comfortable. There are travel wipes that are meant exactly for this type of men’s intimate care, one of which is talked about later on in the article.
What about in relationships?
As you can probably guess, this is not necessarily the best thing for a relationship. If you are just starting out, it may be hard to entice your partner if you are not properly clean. Even in long term relationships, a certain level of cleanliness is essential. Your partner may refuse to perform with you if you happen to have this condition. While this is a common condition, it is not a pleasant one if it gets too far along. Conversely, if your partner has it, be reassuring and do your best to accept the problem and find a solution, as opposed to making it more difficult for the person.
There are many different products on the market that aid with the problem of intimate hygiene for men. Rinz24 (a men's intimate care company) has two products that are available to combat this problem for men. The first is a wash gel that is used daily. This gel can be used to both keep the condition at bay, as well as to use it when the condition is present as a way of getting rid of it. The compound in Rinz24 works as an anti-bacterial and stimulates the natural protective flora, which helps to keep everything clean and under control.
The other product that Rinz24 offers is a set of disposable wipes that can be used on the go. So if you happen to notice that you have a problem, the wipes are available to clean you up and make you more comfortable at that moment in time, until you have more time later to give yourself a more thorough rinse. As far as intimate hygiene for men goes, these two products make life much easier and cleaner.
Now that you are more aware of the condition, make sure that you are rinsing well and keeping yourself clean to avoid any issues.