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What is Smegma - Everything a Man Needs to Know

Written and reviewed by
MD - General Medicine
Sexologist, Delhi  •  20years experience
What is Smegma - Everything a Man Needs to Know

When it comes to questions of penis care, some situations are rather off-putting to discuss; but they need to be talked about in order to help ensure the best penis health possible. One of these issues is smegma, a buildup under the foreskin of intact men that needs to be addressed on a regular basis. Avoiding the issue can lead to rash, itching, and even penis pain, so it behooves a man to read on and figure out what he needs to do to ensure his penis doesn't have to deal with this unsightly problem.

What is Smegma?

Smegma is a problem that pertains only to men who have not been circumcised. It's a buildup of the body's natural oils, as well as dead skin cells, sweat, and other substances. This buildup occurs underneath the foreskin and usually looks like white bumps or softballs. When a guy wipes his finger across smegma, it should be easy to remove from the penis.

All intact men develop smegma; however, their hygiene habits dictate who will actually notice it building up. For instance, a man who showers at least once a day and carefully cleans the foreskin during that shower might never see smegma at all. But a guy who doesn't have such good hygiene might find that smegma builds up and causes problems for him after a while.

What kind of Problems Smegma Cause?

Smegma is a natural thing, so if it is handled properly, it won't cause problems for a man. But if a guy is seeing excessive smegma, that might be an indication that he either needs to step up his hygiene game or that there is something else going on under the foreskin.

First, hygiene: A man must clean carefully under the foreskin at least once a day in order to avoid the buildup. However, there are some who find that the foreskin is a little too tight, and that makes it tough to clean underneath. In that case, a guy will have to take special care to clean the area or speak to the doctor about how to handle the situation.

Second, the other problems: Smegma buildup might become much more severe if a man has an infection that is contributing to the cause. Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to a sudden increase in smegma, as can yeast infections. A good rule of thumb is that smegma, in its natural state, doesn't have an odor, but smegma that is formed as a result of an infection often does have a very off-putting smell.

Symptoms of Smegma in Males

Men should pay close attention to the presence of any odor from the smegma, as well as how much of it there is. In addition, if the smegma is accompanied by itching, burning, redness, soreness, penis pain, and similar problems, it's important for a guy to get to the doctor as soon as possible to help ensure he isn't dealing with a serious issue.

Finally, there's a phenomenon called 'smegma stones.' This happens when a man's hygiene is so bad that the smegma actually has a chance to crystalize into tiny stones that linger underneath the foreskin. These stones can become quite painful and can lead to other serious problems, so it's important for a guy to seek treatment as soon as possible.

How to get rid of Smegma?

The best treatment for smegma buildup is simple: great hygiene. A man can shower every day and take care to clean the area well each time. He should use only cleansers that are specially formulated for the delicate penis skin. Some men who have serious smegma buildup with no known cause might be helped by a course of antibiotics, but only the doctor will know for sure.

He can also reach for a good penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) to use after his shower. A crème that contains penis-centric vitamins and nutrients can help keep the skin smooth and supple, as well as fight odor and help keep smegma under control.


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