When penile itching occurs, men can’t help but take notice – as well they should. While an itchy penis may be the result of nothing more than a sweaty groin area, some causes of itching are more complicated and require appropriate treatment. Some of the most common culprits when it comes to an itchy groin area are described here, along with the penis care tips men can use to soothe inflamed, irritated skin.
Bacterial vaginosis: This infection occurs in women who have an imbalance in their body chemistry, allowing the “bad” bacteria in the vagina to take over. Bacterial vaginosis has a signature fishy smell; men whose partners are infected may also notice an odor on their penis. Treating the infection and abstaining from sex until it has cleared is recommended.
Diabetes: Men who have diabetes may experience a fishy odor in their urine, which is caused by the breakdown of fatty acids into waste products. While it is the urine itself that is actually affected, the smell may be detected from the groin area.
Poor hygiene: This is one of the most common causes of a smelly crotch, and one of the most avoidable. A daily shower is needed to wash away an accumulation of sweat, bacteria, grime, body fluids, dead skin cells, and so on.
Smegma: This term refers to a whitish, cheesy substance that often builds up underneath the foreskin in uncircumcised men. It consists mainly of dead skin cells that have sloughed off and become trapped, as well as body oils and other fluids. These accumulate under the foreskin and form a paste that is smelly and often hard to remove. Daily attention to hygiene is the best way to keep smegma to a minimum.
STDs: Numerous types of sexually transmitted infections can cause foul odors in the genital region. Men who are sexually active and experience symptoms such as sores, blisters, rashes and a discharge should seek a medical evaluation; and regular testing for common STDs is a must.
Sweating: The groin area is notoriously hot and sweaty; and sweat stinks. In fact, it is not the perspiration itself that has an unpleasant smell; this is caused by bacteria that are attracted to it. Aside from washing often, wearing comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for air circulation can help minimize perspiration.
Urinary tract infection: The bacteria that cause urinary tract infections can make a man’s urine smell fishy. Treating the infection with antibiotics is necessary to eliminate the bacteria, as well as the stench.
Yeast infection: Yeast infections on the penis can cause either a yeasty or fishy smell. An antifungal cream is usually needed to wipe out a yeast infection, and any partners should be treated at the same time.
Steps for avoiding penile odor
Not all causes of a smelly penis are hygiene-related, as already mentioned above. However, keeping the area clean, well-groomed and healthy is certainly the best way to keep the stench at bay.
To start with, a bit of manscaping can also be an excellent way to keep odor to a minimum, as body fluids, sweat, and other substances can easily become trapped in a thicket of dense hair.
A daily shower is also a must, using warm water and a mild cleanser – never soap – to gently wash the area. Uncircumcised men should pull back the foreskin and wash the area underneath, making sure to remove any smegma that has accumulated. And for men who just can’t get to the shower on any given day, it is worth at least stepping up to the sink and washing the groin area carefully with a soft cloth.
Drying thoroughly before stepping into a pair of briefs is also recommended, since damp skin can attract fungal spores and bacterial.
Once the area is clean and dry and sparkling, applying a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can add extra odor protection. A crème containing vitamin A – a natural antibacterial agent that can reduce the presence of stink-causing bacteria – is best; and the moisturizing properties of a quality product can help prevent dry skin, which is much more prone to infection and other problems.