A young man sitting in the bath and singing

Your penis might not be considered a vital organ like your heart or lungs, but a healthy penis is still vital to your overall health and well-being.

When you have issues like erectile dysfunction, your mental and physical health risks can increase significantly. So here are seven hygiene rules for a healthier penis and a happier you!

Conditions That May Affect the Penis

A penis can be affected by physical health conditions including:

  • Persistent, painful erections are called priapisms that may last for four or more hours.
  • A curve or bend to the penis from Peyronie’s Disease is a condition causing fibrous scar tissue or “plaque” built up in the penis that affects its shape and function.
  • An inflammation-causing infection on the head of the penis is called balanitis.
  • When the intact foreskin around the penis becomes tight and can’t get pulled back, it’s a condition called phimosis.
  • When the intact foreskin gets pulled back and cannot reform its natural shape, severe complications may occur in a medical emergency called paraphimosis.
  • Skin cancer in the penis is rare and also called penile cancer.

These examples show you the broad range of conditions that may affect the penis or intact foreskin, but the great news is many are treatable, and some are preventable by practicing good hygiene!

Hygiene Rules for Your Healthy Penis

Make this your daily hygiene routine:

  1. Wash your penis every day. Concentrate on gently cleaning the glans (the tip of your penis) with warm water and mild soap. No need to scrub!
  2. It’s best to use a soap for sensitive skin with no added scent or chemicals that cause irritations. Don’t use scented deodorants, colognes, body washes, or lotions that may contain heavy perfumes or even alcohol.
  3. If your foreskin is intact, gently pull it back, and wash and rinse the head of your penis and underneath the foreskin daily with warm water and mild soap to prevent infection. But don’t pull too hard because this can cause injury.
  4. After cleaning the tip of your penis, clean the base of your penis and your scrotum with the same gentle motion, warm water, and mild soap. Finish this step with a quick self-exam of your genitals:
    • Stay relaxed as you hold the top of your scrotum
    • Move your fingers and thumb gently down each testicle to feel for abnormalities
    • Lumps or hard tissue abnormalities can feel like grains of rice up to grape-sized
    • You should feel a natural lump on the back of your testicles called the epididymis
    • Next, feel for tissue damage or lesions on the shaft of your penis to the head by squeezing lightly and noting lumps or tenderness.
    • If your foreskin is intact, pull back the skin, and examine the area visually and by touch.
  1. After washing your genital area, pat it dry with a clean towel. If your foreskin is intact, remember to pull back the skin to dry off any moisture and prevent infection further.
  2. Wearing clean and dry underwear is essential to good hygiene.
  3. While handwashing is essential after every bathroom break, you should also have clean hands before you urinate if you’ve been handling chemicals, heat rubs, or even naturally spicy foods that contain skin-irritating chemicals (chilli peppers are a great example!).

Are There Other Penis Health Issues To Know?

Your routine genital self-exam only takes a minute or two, but it can be a lifesaver. If you have concerns about abnormalities, please immediately contact your healthcare provider. Keep reading because we’ll tell you about infections around the penis to look for too.


Sometimes there will be thick, white discharge under an intact foreskin called smegma. If you’re concerned about an unpleasant odour, follow the hygiene rules above.

Too much smegma may encourage bacteria growth and infection, or the discharge may harden under the foreskin. In this situation, please follow the hygiene rules. Don’t scrub the area or pull the foreskin because harsh handling can cause an injury or a tear.


A rash or itch, pain or tenderness, or a discharge around the head of the penis may be an infection called balanitis. It’s treatable, but it is common when an intact foreskin isn’t cleaned correctly.


Irregular penis hygiene can also cause phimosis, causing the intact foreskin to constrict and unable to be pulled back.    

When Is It Necessary To See a Doctor?

Good penis hygiene takes you a long way, but not all penis problems are preventable by hygiene only.

If you experience symptoms like the following, please advise your doctor asap:

  • Unusual changes to how or when you ejaculate sperm
  • A sudden decrease in sexual desire
  • Bleeding when you urinate or ejaculate
  • Burning when you urinate
  • A rash or wart on your penis or around your genitals
  • A painful bend or curve to the penis that makes intercourse too difficult
  • Discharge from your penis
  • An injured penis that causes you severe pain.

If you find it embarrassing to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, think of it this way. It’s your body, and you owe it to yourself to be in charge of your health!

Why Are Regular Exams Important?

Another way to take charge of your health is to schedule an annual physical with your doctor. Your physical should include an examination of your genitals, similar to the self-exam we explained earlier.

Men like you who invest in their health and wellness can reap the physical and mental benefits for life, including great sex or increased intimacy with someone you care for. Of course, It’s not always easy to prioritize yourself, but at OHN, we know the good things are hard! We are your specialist in men’s sexual healthcare, on hand, anywhere, anytime.

Mayo Clinic. 2021. Penis health: Identify and prevent problems. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/penis-health/art-20046175> [Accessed 8 January 2022].

Bandukwala, N., 2022. Penis Disorders. [online] WebMD. Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/sexual-health-male-reproductive-problems-penis-disorders> [Accessed 8 January 2022].

Healthy Male. 2021. How to clean your penis properly. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthymale.org.au/news/how-to-clean-your-penis> [Accessed 9 January 2022].

Healthdirect.gov.au. 2021. Penis care. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/penis-care> [Accessed 8 January 2022].

Healthline. 2021. Epididymis Function, Definition & Anatomy | Body Maps. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/epididymis> [Accessed 9 January 2022].

Jewell, T., 2019. If You Have a Penis, You Should Be Getting Genital Exams. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/penis-exam#how-to-self-exam> [Accessed 19 January 2022].