This is part of our Exploring Organs series to familiarize you with the pieces and parts that make you…you! You will learn about one of the key organs in the reproductive system and urinary system for males.
Function, Location and Purpose
The penis is located above the scrotum. This organ is used for sexual intercourse and urination. The penis is made of blood vessels, spongy tissues and several parts including the glans, also known as the head of the penis, which can be covered by the foreskin. Circumcision occurs when the foreskin is surgically removed, often at birth or later in life for medical and religious purposes. The urethra, where urine is released, is surrounded by the shaft of the penis which is connected to the pubic bone.
Diseases and Treatments
Like many other organs, there are specific conditions and diseases specific to the penis. Some of them include:
- Peyronie’s disease: Scar tissue develops in the penis, commonly following trauma/injury, and causes pain and an abnormal curvature during erection
- Treatments include observation, penile traction, injections, and surgery (plication vs grafting)
- Erectile dysfunction: Unable to achieve sufficiently or maintain erection, affecting sexual intercourse
- Treatments include oral medications, vacuum erection device, urethral suppository, injections, and penile implant
- Urethral stricture: Scar tissue develops in the urethra and causes difficulty with urination
- Treatments include internal stretching/dilation or cutting of the scar, reconstruction/repair of the urethra, and redirection of the urine channel to another location
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can commonly affect the penis and are treated with antibiotics.
If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to speak with your primary care provider about screening options if issues begin to develop. During your annual check-up, you should ask what preventative steps are recommended for you to maintain a healthy penis.
At UofL Physicians – Urology we look forward to providing medical care and management to the Louisville and regional community. Our team is here to treat either surgically or medically for disorders of the bladder, kidneys, gall bladder, urinary tract and the male reproductive system. We also provide elective procedures such as vasectomies. Contact our clinic to learn more at 502-588-4740.