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Male Genital Problems and Injuries (cont.)

Prevention

The following prevention measures may help you reduce your risk of problems in the genital area. If you find a lump, growth, or other change in the genital area, check your symptoms to determine if and when you need to see your doctor.

Testicular self-exam

You may want to do a testicular self-exam once a month. The best time to do the exam is after a warm bath or shower when the scrotal skin is relaxed.

Male teens, young men, and men who have had undescended testicles or a family history of testicular cancer have an increased risk for developing testicular cancer.

If you are concerned about an undescended testicle in your baby, talk to your baby's doctor.

Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

You can take measures to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). You can also reduce the risk of transmitting an STI to your sex partner. Know high-risk behaviors and the symptoms of STIs.

Delay sexual activity until you are prepared both physically and emotionally to have sex. Nearly two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25 years old. Sexually active teenagers are at high risk for STIs because they frequently have unprotected sex and have multiple partners. Biological changes during the teen years also may increase the risk of getting an STI.

Practice safer sex

Preventing a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is easier than treating an infection once it occurs.

  • Talk with your partner about STIs before beginning a sexual relationship. Find out if he or she is at risk for an STI. Remember that it is quite possible to be infected with an STI without knowing it. Some STIs, such as HIV, can take up to 6 months before they can be detected in the blood. Ask about the following:
    • How many sex partners has your new potential partner had?
    • What high-risk behaviors does he or she have?
    • Has he or she ever had an STI?
    • Was it treated and cured?
    • If the STI is not curable, what is the best way to protect yourself?
  • Be responsible and practice safer sex.
    • Avoid sexual contact or activity if you have symptoms of an STI or are being treated for an STI.
    • Avoid sexual contact or activity with anyone who has symptoms of an STI or who may have been exposed to an STI.
  • Abstain from sexual intercourse to prevent any exposure to STIs.
  • Don't have more than one sex partner at a time. Your risk of an STI increases if you have several sex partners at the same time.

Condoms

Condoms can be used not only to prevent pregnancy but also to help protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a condom during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a new partner until you are certain that he or she does not have any sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

A male condom is placed over a man's erect penis before sex. Condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths," or "skins."

The female condom is a tube of soft plastic (polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.

In a long-term, single-partner (monogamous) relationship, partners may choose to quit using condoms to prevent STIs. But using some form of birth control is important to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Jock itch and yeast infection

Steps to prevent jock itch (fungal infection of the skin in the groin) or yeast infection (cutaneous candidiasis) include the following:

  • Dry yourself well after bathing. Use a hair dryer to dry your groin area.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Avoid tight pants.
  • Use a powder to absorb moisture.
  • If you have athlete's foot, put your socks on before your underwear. This can prevent fungi from spreading from your feet to your groin when you put on your underwear.
  • Change out of a wet bathing suit soon after swimming so that your skin can dry out.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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