Andrew Siegel, MD August 8, 2015
10 Tips to Keep Your Penis Healthy and Functional
The penis is truly a unique and remarkable organ—one of the only body parts capable of dramatically altering its shape, size, and constitution in nanoseconds. Imagine if our brains or biceps were that responsive, morphing into uber versions of themselves at the appropriate times—like Popeye’s biceps in response to spinach—we would be superheroes!
Trivia: The penis is not the only body part capable of such magic…there is one other organ that when stimulated will change its size fourfold, an even more impressive feat than what the penis is capable of! Do you have any idea what this organ is? (Answer at end of blog)
Under the right circumstances, your penis becomes a proud warrior, a soldier standing tall at attention, saluting, noble, confident and majestic. With enough stimulation, it ferociously spits out DNA, capable of turning eggs into humans. Penis magic!
Your penis should command a great deal of respect–like any unpaired body organ that has no mate to kick in when there is engine failure–including the brain, heart, liver and pancreas. Yet the penis is not an organ that is treated with much respect. It doesn’t see much light of day or fresh air. It is periodically liberated briefly from its incarceration to allow the bladder to drain or to be cleansed when showering. On occasion it is wrapped up in a suffocating rubber suit and inserted into dark and mysterious places. At other times it is “assaulted” by its owner–wacked, smacked and choked into submission.
Many naively assume that their penis will continue to perform its duties and responsibilities, day after day, year after year. Despite all your penis does for you, most are remiss in providing it sufficient nurture and care. Without proper attention to its health and well being, it is destined to become less functional with each passing decade. Many chronic conditions are associated with its declining function, including obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tobacco use, etc. What these conditions have in common is a “pro-inflammatory” state that results in dysfunction of the important cells that line blood vessels (endothelial cells), decreased levels of the vital chemical mediator of erections (nitric oxide) and oxidative stress with decreased levels of anti-oxidants and increased levels of free radicals.
The good news is that with some effort, you can maintain healthy functioning until your golden years. Like your car, your penis requires care and preventive maintenance to keep it running trouble-free. Getting beyond maintenance, you can actually enhance your sexual health and performance, optimizing its function. The following are the top ten means of keeping your penis healthy:
1. Don’t carry extra pounds
Just as your car suffers a decline in performance if it is dragging around too much of a load, so you penis will function sub-optimally if you are carrying excessive weight. Obesity steals your manhood and reduces male hormone levels. Abdominal fat converts the male hormone testosterone to the female hormone estrogen. Obese men are more likely to have fatty plaque deposits that clog blood vessels, including the arteries to the penis, making it more difficult to obtain and maintain good-quality erections. Additionally, as your belly gets bigger, your penis gets smaller.
2. Use high octane, performance fuel
Put a tiger in your tank with wholesome, natural and real foods that help prevent weight gain and the build-up of harmful plaque deposits within blood vessels. Healthy fuel includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains and fish. Animal products including lean meats and dairy should be eaten in moderation, avoiding processed foods and refined grains. The Mediterranean-style diet is an excellent one for minimizing both sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Poor fuel choices include calorie-laden and nutritionally empty processed and fast foods, which often lead to clogged arteries and poor erections.
3. Minimize stress
Stress and anxiety cause the release of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Being nervous causes adrenaline-fueled performance anxiety on the basis of adrenaline constricting blood vessels, which negatively impacts erections. Excessive cortisol secretion drives one’s appetite, causing the accumulation of belly fat.
4. Eliminate toxins, particularly tobacco
You don’t want to put toxins in your tank. In addition to causing cancer, chemicals in tobacco narrow blood vessels, impair blood flow, decrease the supply of oxygen and promote inflammation, compromising every organ in your body, the penis being no exception.
5. Minimize toxins such as alcohol
In small amounts, alcohol can alleviate anxiety and act as a vasodilator (increasing blood flow) and can actually improve sexual function, but in large amounts it can be a major risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
6. Give it a rest
Too much time on the road without sufficient rest is not good for your body or your car. Both you and your vehicle require garage time. Ample sleep serves a vitally important restorative function. Sleep deprivation causes a disruption in endocrine, metabolic, and immune function, resulting in decreased levels of leptin (appetite suppressant), increased ghrelin levels (appetite stimulant), increased cortisol, and increased glucose levels (higher amounts of sugar in the bloodstream). If you are exhausted, your penis is going to be weary as well.
7. Hit the road regularly
Take that vehicle out for a nice ride on a regular basis. Use your body as it was meant to. Exercise has a remarkably positive effect on sexual function, in addition to reducing stress, improving mood, preventing fatigue, and increasing energy. It reduces risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, osteoporosis, chronic medical problems, and physical disability. Exercise makes the heart a better and stronger pump, the blood vessels more elastic, and the muscles more efficient at extracting oxygen. Exercises that work out the muscles involved in sex—the core muscles, the external rotators of the hip, and the all-important pelvic floor muscles—will improve bedroom performance.
The pelvic floor muscles play a vital role with erections and ejaculation. When you are sexually stimulated, the pelvic floor muscles activate to maintain penile rigidity and a skyward angling erection. These muscles are not only responsible for getting the stimulated penis from a tumescent state (plump with blood) to a bone-like rigid state, but also for maintaining that rigid state and for being the “motor” of ejaculation.
8. Stay active
Use it or lose it. You can help keep your penis in good shape by using it regularly as nature intended it to be used. Studies have clearly demonstrated that men who are more active sexually tend to have fewer problems with erections as they age.
9. Maintain healthy relationships
It takes two to tango, so relationship harmony factors strongly into good sexual functioning just as discord and interpersonal issues can profoundly contribute to sexual issues. The mind-body connection is of immense importance to sexual function.
10. Preventive maintenance
You bring your vehicle in regularly for oil and filter changes, tire rotations, and other means of preventing trouble, so do the same for your body with regular visits to your doctor to perform whatever tests are necessary to preempt issues before they become problematic. If you are having problems with your favorite organ, it is time to consult your friendly urologist.
Bottom Line: The Golden Rule of the Penis: “Do unto your penis as you would have your penis do unto you.”…In other words, treat your penis kindly and it will return the favor; treat your penis poorly and it will rebel. First-line therapy for erectile dysfunction is lifestyle changes and a proactive approach will keep you functioning smoothly for many years.
Q. What organ in the body when stimulated will change its size fourfold?
A. The pupil of the eye will dilate from 2 millimeters in diameter in bright light to 8 millimeters in dark, as governed by the iris.
Wishing you the best of health,
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Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: Available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Sexual, Urinary and Pelvic Health.
Co-founder of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: http://www.PrivateGym.com or available on Amazon
Tags: alcohol in moderation, Andrew Siegel MD, Arnold Kegel MD, avoid tobacco, erection, exercise, healthy erection, healthy penis, healthy weight, Kegel exercises, nutrition, pelvic floor muscle training, penis, Private Gym, sleep, stress reduction