Sexually Transmitted Infections have evolved over time. The very first to appear were bacterial diseases like Syphilis and Gonorrhea, which could only be cured with antibiotics. Afterwards, viral diseases appeared; AIDS, herpetic infections, or infections caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which has no cure at the moment. To make things worse, we also have parasitic STIs caused by protozoa and ectoparasites.
The risk of getting a STI is always high, so doctors recommend having only one sexual partner at a time, using a condom every time you have casual sex, and to always be being aware of other people’s sexual health. Men usually think they don’t have any STIs because they don’t always experience symptoms. Nonetheless, some diseases might need an incubation period before symptoms begin to appear.
It’s because of this that you should get regular check-ups and talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any sign of infection. You may well be already familiar with the most common STIs, but it doesn’t hurt to get acquainted with those that most commonly affect men.
In generic terms, Phimosis refers to unusually tight foreskin that cannot be drawn back from the head of the penis. It can be caused by a congenital condition, thrush, or poor hygiene. In any case, the main symptoms are: not being able to retract the foreskin to expose the head of your penis, painful erections or intercourse, and difficulty or inability to urinate.
If you have one or more symptoms, you must schedule an appointment with your urologist right away.
As its name suggests, these are warts that appear on the glans, foreskin, or anus, and are caused by HPV in the skin. As these warts grow, they sometimes become cauliflower shaped. Warts usually develop within three months of infection. You don’t need to have any signs of infection at all to transmit the virus. Although condoms do not offer full protection, they’re the best form of protection that’s currently available. There are also vaccines against certain types of HPV.
Yeast penile infections are caused by a fungus called candida. A small amount of candida is usually present on the body, but when there is an overgrowth, you get an infection. According to the International Journal of Sexually Transmitted Disease & AIDS, this infection is caused by sexual intercourse with someone who has a yeast infection, or by poor hygiene. Early symptoms often include a red rash and sometimes white, shiny patches on the penis. Late symptoms include severe inflammation and swelling.
Peyronie’s Disease is usually caused by damage to penile tissue, which creates a scar tissue known as plaque. This causes the penis to bend upward or downward or be indented. The bending can happen gradually, starting with lumps and soreness that go on to develop into a hardened scar. Although injury or trauma explain a cause of Peyronie’s Disease, they do not explain why most cases develop slowly and with no apparent traumatic event.
Early symptoms include painful and weak erections or ejaculations caused by an inflammation, while late symptoms (after the formation of the plaque) include erectile dysfunction or loss of penile length. There are surgical and non-surgical options to treat this condition.
Remember: better safe than sorry. If you’re experiencing mild symptoms, the best thing you can do is going to see your doctor as soon as you can. This kind of infections are much more treatable during the early stages. So be sure to take care of yourself!
*This text was written for information purposes and does not intend to replace medical diagnosis.
United Kingdom Men’s Health Forum
Instituto Urología y Medicina Sexual
Translated by Andrea Valle Gracia
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