Take Care of Your Penis and He’ll Take Care of You
Eureka! After so many years of counseling hundreds, maybe thousands of males about their reproductive health, it finally dawns on me that I need to focus on something that will grab their attention, something that they focus on every day, something critical to a man’s life, happiness, self-image and health – his PENIS. Duhhhhh!!!!
Forgive me, I am basically a vagina doctor – so I guess it never occurred to me to concentrate more on the penis. I am a reproductive endocrinologist and I treat infertility. Many of my male patients are members of heterosexual couples trying to have a baby. Some of my male patients are gay couples trying to have a baby and a handful of my male patients are single men trying to have a baby. So, even though I am by training a gynecologic specialist, I treat and advise a lot of men regarding their reproductive health and any other issues impacting their ability to help conceive a baby. Most infertility testing and treatment tends to focus on female health and wellness. The male contributes the sperm and we don’t need much sperm to make a baby.Most of my female patients will ask again and again – what else can I do to improve my chances to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby? They also ask – what else can my husband, male partner, boyfriend do to be healthier? I spend a lot of time at the initial visit talking about health and wellness. How smoking by either the male or the female partner is associated with a higher rate of infertility, miscarriage and birth defects. How overweight and obesity in either partner is also associated with higher rates of infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. How to limit alcohol so it does not have a negative impact upon health or reproduction, some ideas for stress management, how getting enough sleep can impact fertility, etc.
One day, not too long ago, I was sitting down with a nice couple struggling with infertility. She is a nurse, he is a physical therapist. He has diabetes. They are both overweight. We talk about diet, exercise, ideal weight goals, diabetes. They are both knowledgeable about health and the things they need to do to get healthier. She seems very motivated – he seems on board – kind of. I mention, “by the way….you know that controlling your sugar will lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, amputation, etc” He nods. Yes he is well aware of the reasons to control his sugar. “Did you know that poor sugar control can dramatically increase the risk for erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction?”He sits bolt upright. Yes – it makes sense – he kind of knew that in the back of his mind – but he never thought about it that way before. Hmmmmm. Poorly controlled diabetes can harm your penis! If you control your sugar, your penis will be healthier and you will be happier!
Here are a few other things that can hurt your penis:
- Being Overweight – Extra weight increases the risk for vascular disease, diabetes, heart disease, and lowers testosterone levels, all if which will have a negative impact on erectile function
- Heart disease – let your blood pressure go or not watching that cholesterol can lead to heart disease which is the major cause of ED
- Smoking – doubles your risk for ED and can even shorten your penis
- Enlarged prostate gland can lead to premature ejaculation
- Drinking – too much alcohol can both deplete testosterone and cause ED
If you can’t do it for you, do it for the man downstairs. He will thank you in a big way.