Smegma


Smegma Buildup: The real culprit?

Are you getting worn out after intercourse or is it not going as well as it should be? Do you have problems with intercourse? Do you feel like you are always in pain or have an itchy sensation? The culprit could be an overly familiar acquaintance. In this case, it could be the lubricant called smegma that inhabits the cavity between the foreskin and the glans of the penis. It could be a case of it building up and hardening over time. The real culprit, therefore, is not really the lubricant itself but you. And you most certainly could do better with better personal hygiene.

What is smegma?

We do a good job of taking care of our bodies, by regularly cleaning them. However, the build-up of scent or substances can be unmanageable. One such build-up could be that of smegma. It is a build-up of dead skin cells, oil, and other fluids between the folds of the vagina or on the tip of the penis. The build-up can grow over time. If it is not taken care of, it can lead to painful side effects.

Incidence of smegma build-up

The high build-up of smegma is most commonly observed in uncircumcised males. This is because their uncircumcised skin traps bacteria and other dirt. These remain of the tip of the penis causing an itchy sensation and the build-up of smegma over time. Because of the high rates of circumcision in the United States, men do not generally have this condition if they maintain good hygiene. The high build-up of smegma is more common, therefore, in women in the United States.

How is smegma produced?

Recently, scientists at the Botkin’s Hospital in Moscow acquired vital insights into the workings of this fluid. On the inner surface of the foreskin cavity, the scientists have found millions of microscopic prominences, minute microscopic protrusions of various shapes and sizes. The living cells that grow outward from these protrusions continuously undergo fatty degeneration to form smegma.

Variation in smegma formation with age

These smegma-forming prominences vary with age. They may be present in great numbers in infants and even in children, but they reach their maximum count in people aged between 20 and 40. This makes sense because it is between these ages (adolescence and active sexual life) that men are most active sexually. After the age of 40, the number of prominences continues to drop until in very late life they stop altogether. While sebum forms an essential part of smegma in childhood, it makes no significant contribution to it in later life.

Is smegma useful?

Smegma is very useful. It acts as a lubricant in the cavity between the foreskin and the glans of the penis. This allows smooth movement of the penis during intercourse.

The glans increases in size during an erection. The foreskin does not change its dimensions. The foreskin is thin enough so that the enlarged glans can move freely out of it during an erection and can retract back once the intercourse is over. The relaxation of the muscle fibers within the foreskin aids the movement of the glans.

Surely, the forward and backward movement of the enlarged glans would not be possible if the foreskin itself was harsh and dry on the inside. However, this is not the case. Smegma acts as a lubricant and ensures that the foreskin remains moist and smooth to guide the movement of the enlarged glans during intercourse. To ensure its even distribution, smegma is produced over the whole inner surface of the foreskin’s cavity.

Characteristics of smegma

Smegma is a build-up of fluid and substances that have the following characteristics:

  • It is generally white with a cheese-like consistency. The color may change to a little dark depending on skin tone.
  • The smell is unpleasant.

Causes of smegma build-up

Having a high build-up of smegma need not mean you have a sexually transmitted disease. It need not be that you have any kind of infection either. The smegma is a result of the build-up of fluids that generally serve the purpose of keeping the genitals clean and keeping the skin from feeling dry or itchy. In other words, these fluids are lubricants. When there is a build-up of substances, fluids, and oils and you do not wash your genitalia clean regularly, it can lead to too much smegma. It is important to wash your genitals clean regularly in order to avoid the build-up.

Complications of smegma build-up

Smegma is not dangerous by itself; neither does it cause irreversible complications on build-up. Earlier research showed that too much smegma could lead to penile or cervical cancer, but neither has been conclusive. If the build-up is not removed or treated, it can become quite hard. This can cause the foreskin to stick to the penis, making it difficult to move the skin and making it very itchy.

Smegma build-up and hardening can also cause redness, irritation, inflammation, and swelling on the penis. This can lead to a condition called balanitis. Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans penis and a common condition affecting nearly 4 to 11% of all males. It can happen at any age.

In women, the clitoral hood can stick to the clitoral shaft due to a build-up of smegma. This can lead to pain and discomfort.

What is balanitis?

Unlike a simple case of smegma build-up, balanitis is actually an infection. Infection by bacteria or yeast of the tip of your penis is called balanitis. It could be caused by a smegma build up and insufficient aeration. Allergies to drugs such as sulfonamide and tetracycline can also lead to balanitis. Balanitis may also be associated with contact dermatitis and/or obesity. Balanitis leads to inflammation, itchiness, rashes, etc.

Other symptoms of balanitis are:

  • Pain or difficulty with retraction of the foreskin
  • Penile discharge
  • Foul odor
  • Impotence
  • Inability to insert a Foley catheter
  • Difficulty urinating or controlling the flow of urine
  • Itching
  • Tenderness and erythema of the glans penis
  • Fever and nausea in rare cases

The doctor will also check your history for uncontrolled diabetes as this could also be an indirect cause for balanitis. In a study of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, treatment with dapagliflozin (2.5 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg once daily) was found to be associated with an increased risk of vulvovaginitis or balanitis, related to the induction of glucosuria. This shows that people with uncontrolled diabetes will have high glucose levels in their urine due to the medication they take. When the urine is passed from the body, the glucose can accumulate around the top of the penis, encouraging the growth of yeast and bacteria.

The treatment for balanitis does not just involve washing your penis with warm water. Actually, that will no longer help. You may need to take medications to resolve the conditions caused by balanitis. Some of the complications that result from balanitis are narrowing of the urethral strictures, urinary retention, and a backflow of urine into the kidneys.

You can prevent it by making the extra effort to keep your private parts clean. Gently pull back and wash under your foreskin with mild soap. Dry the area completely. Make this a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.

Treatment of smegma build-up

The best way to treat smegma build-up is to wash your genitalia clean. For men, roll down the skin around the tip of the penis and wash gently with warm water and soap. Make sure that the soap is not highly perfumed or scented. If it is and if it does cause a reaction, simply washing with warm water should also help break down the smegma. For women, make sure you wash between the folds of the labia, where it is generally that smegma accumulates. Again, use warm water and soap to do the cleaning.

In both cases, do not use any sharp objects or cotton swabs to do the cleaning, as this may irritate the genitals. After the rinsing is done with warm water and soap, dry it well.

If cleaning your genitalia does not get rid of the build-up, then it could be something serious. Contact your doctor and schedule an appointment because it could be a case of some other infection.

Prevention of smegma build-up

The best way to prevent smegma build-up is by maintaining good personal hygiene. You should ideally clean your genitals twice a week thoroughly with soap and warm water to ensure there is no build-up of smegma on them.

First, wash them with soap and then rub clean with warm water. Alternatively, you could clean them every time you take a shower. This is especially good if you naturally sweat a lot.

Sweating induces build-up of smegma. You could sweat a lot after a workout if you live in hot and humid areas, or even if you are involved in any occupation that causes you to sweat a lot.

Final Words

The general outlook for smegma care is very promising. In the case of smegma build-up, a periodic, clean wash of the genitals should clear it up. But before you start taking care of smegma build-up, make sure that that is what it is. It could be a case of infection or some other disease.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Always pay attention to the secondary symptoms. They, along with your medical history and list of medications might help your doctor arrive at the right diagnosis. Balanitis, if it is caused by a build-up of smegma, is completely reversible. However, if you observe any of the symptoms of balanitis, you must consult a doctor because the complications may be unmanageable. You may be required to take medications to control the condition.

Facts

  • Though smegma is a substance of great chemical complexity, its exact composition is not known.
  • The only components scientists know it contains are neutral fats, sterols, fatty acids, and cell debris.

Facts

  • Smegma quickly changes its chemical composition upon atmospheric exposure.

Facts

  • It could vary in color from white to yellow across individuals.
  • For the same individual, the color of smegma may vary at different stages of life.

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Clean your penis regularly with warm water and soap.
  • Consult a doctor if your smegma does not go away or you suspect a case of infection on your penis.
Don'ts
  • Involve in occupations that make you sweat a lot if you have a tendency to do so. It could make smegma worse.
  • Use cotton swabs or sharp objects on your penis to clean it.

 

 

 

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Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of oxidation caused by…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody (tTG) Test Transglutaminase is an enzyme present in our body and is involved in protein metabolism. A tTg test is…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
The right way to prepare Alfalfa sprouts at home Alfalfa or lusan ghas is not just a nutritious animal fodder. This flavonoid-rich herb has some amazing health…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken the world by…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
The complete “what to eat” guide for gluten intolerance Does eating breads and pastas often makes you nauseous? Gluten intolerance is a common reason why you might…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shoudler exercises
Keep your shoulders pain-free with these shoulder exercises Shoulder exercises are important in order to prevent chronic back and neck pain. Learn more about how you…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…