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Unpleasant Odor from the Penis

psychiatrist, sexologist, psychotherapist
  • Published:
    06 June 2023
  • Updated:
    30 January 2024
Odor from Penis

To deal with unpleasant odors, you need to learn about the pleasant or typical smell of the penis

Why Does the Genitalia Smell?

Usually, the penis does not smell, at least if the man just got out of the shower and washed his penis well. In a recent article, we wrote about male intimate hygiene. You can also read about the taste of sperm.

Normal and Easily Remediable Causes of Unpleasant Penile Odor

  • Sweat: there is no "ventilation" in the genital area. Therefore, sweat tends to form in all folds and crevices. If it dries out or mixes with dead skin cells and other bacteria from the anus or urine, the penis will have a foul odor.
  • Urine residue: yes, men should also use toilet paper after urinating. Because if you don't wipe away urine residue, bacteria will multiply - especially on the glans and under the foreskin. 
  • Smegma: a yellowish-white secretion secreted by the foreskin glands and the glans and serves to keep the penis moist. If the hygiene of the penis is insufficient, it accumulates too much and causes a disgusting smell.

What to Do if the Penis Smells Strongly?

If the penis has a particularly unpleasant odor or cannot be washed off, it may indicate a health problem.
If the man also has a discharge and it smells, he may have a sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Unhealthy smells range from fungi to ammonia.

Unpleasant odor from the penis in men due to the peculiarities of the structure of the genital organs

In certain instances, the occurrence of this issue may be influenced by the anatomical characteristics of the genital organs, such as phimosis (a narrowing of the foreskin, resulting from physiological characteristics of the body or as a result of trauma, the outcome of a previous inflammatory process). Oncological diseases, dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, seborrhea, contact dermatitis, and other similar conditions, have the potential to cause changes in the genital organs, thereby influencing the appearance of odor.

Balanoposthitis and balanitis are two conditions that are more frequently responsible for an unpleasant odor, commonly referred to as a "fishy" odor, than any other disease. Balanitis refers to inflammation of only the glans of the penis, while balanoposthitis is the same inflammation as in balanitis, but with simultaneous inflammation of the foreskin. The signs of these conditions can include a strong, unpleasant odor emanating from the genital area, as well as irritation, swelling, irritation, burning, and pus-like discharge.

How to treat an unpleasant odor from the penis?

It is generally necessary to consult a urologist or dermatologist with any symptoms related to the urogenital system that cannot be eliminated by maintaining hygiene. Often, we are talking about serious diseases that can lead to infertility, for example. The sooner medical aid is sought, the greater the odds of a successful outcome.

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