Information

Sexual health is about looking after yourself and others. This means enjoying the sexual activity you want, safely, without causing you or anyone else any suffering, either physical or mental. It is not just about using contraception or avoiding infections.


How do I tell if I have an STI?

Some infections don’t have any symptoms, so if you have had sexual contact and not had a sexual health check up then get a check at your local Sexual Health Clinic. Check out the most common  STI’s
Signs of an infection:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain or burning when you pee
  • Pain or bleeding during sex
  • Itches, rashes, sores, lumps or blisters on genitals or near the back passage
  • Pain in the testicles

 

Free condoms – Condoms are FREE at all our clinics and also at various locations throughout Ayrshire and Arran through the C Card scheme.

Scrotum and Testicles

The scrotum is the sack of skin hanging behind the penis. It holds the two testicles (testes or balls) so that they hang outside the body to keep them cooler than the rest of the body. This lower temperature allows sperm to develop properly. The testicles should be about the same size and weight but sometimes they do vary a little in size, shape and weight. You usually find that one hangs lower than the other.

There are a number of problems affecting the scrotum and its contents, follow this link for more information http://www.sandyford.org/adults,-parents–carers/well-men/scrotum-and-testicles–.aspx

Testicular Self Examination

Testicular self examination helps find cancer at an early stage and saves lives. Testicular cancer affects a man’s testes or ‘balls’. Although testicular cancer is not that common, it is the most common cancer to affect young men and occurs most often between the ages of 19 to 44 years old. Most importantly, detected early enough it is almost always curable.

Self-examination of your testicles is best done after a bath or shower when your scrotum is relaxed. Holding your scrotum in the palms of the hands use your fingers and thumbs to examine the shape, size, consistency, and smoothness of the testes. It’s not unusual for one testicle to be larger than the other or for one to hang lower than the other.

Look out for swelling of the testicle or a pea-sized hard lump on the testicle. Sometimes there may be a dull ache or a sharp pain felt around the testicle or in the scrotum. If you notice any of these, or if you’re worried and just want some reassurance that everything is OK, then ask your GP to check you. Most swellings are not cancer, but don’t ignore any changes or concerns.
For further information on performing testicular self examination visit:http://www.tc-cancer.com/about/self-exam.html

Prostate

Prostate problems are very common in older men. The most common symptoms caused by prostate problems are:

  • Increased urinary frequency and urgency
  • Frequent night-time wakening to empty the bladder
  • Hesitancy – with weak flow of urine
  • Flow of urine is slow, incomplete, painful or burning
  • Straining or dribbling at end of urination
  • Blood in the urine

The prostate gland is about the size and shape of a walnut. It is a gland found only in men and is just below the bladder. When you pass urine it flows through a tube (urethra) and out through the penis. The urethra has to pass through the prostate before reaching the penis. This is why some men have problems with urinating when they have an enlarged prostate. Fluid produced by the prostate forms part of semen and may help to nourish sperm.
Prostate cancer affects around one in twelve men, however, the commonest cause of prostate problems is benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, which is non-cancerous.

It’s important to note that these symptoms may be an indication of other health problems or diseases that can be easily cured. It is important that if you suffer from any of these symptoms that you consult your GP.
For further information on prostate problems visit: http://www.prostatescotland.org.uk/

Impotence

Impotence, or erectile dysfunction to give it its proper name, means that your erection does not stay hard enough, for long enough, to allow you to have satisfactory sex. Men of any age may be affected, although it becomes more likely with age. One in ten men in the UK are affected, so although you may feel alone, in reality you’re not.

The reasons for erectile dysfunction can vary. They can be physical, psychological, a mixture of both, or a side effect of medication.

Some of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • A reduction in the flow of blood to the penis. The main causes are usually conditions causing narrowing of arteries which can result in poor blood circulation e.g. high blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol problems and heart disease. Erectile dysfunction can be the first sign of heart disease e.g. poor circulation to the heart, legs or brain: so it is important to mention erectile dysfunction to your doctor who can assess the risk for, and treat, any underlying causes before anything worse happens.
  • Illnesses such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis cause problems with the nervous system, blocking the electrical signals between the brain and the penis. These brain signals normally tell the body to develop an erection when a man gets aroused.
  • Injuries to the nervous system in accidents or surgery can also cause problems getting an erection.
  • Many drugs have an effect on getting an erection. Alcohol and recreational drugs can have an effect. Prescription medication can also result in problems, the commonest drugs causing erectile dysfunction are antidepressants, antipsychotics and blood pressure tablets.
  • Psychological causes are varied and can usually be addressed in counselling to help overcome the problem

Not smoking, eating a healthy diet, not over-doing it with the booze, taking regular exercise, getting enough sleep and rest, and keeping stress levels to a minimum will help prevent impotence. Talking to your partner and seeking help from the doctor will help you overcome the problem.

If you are having problems with impotence there is a specialist service at Ayr Hospital. Your GP or sexual health clinic can refer you there.

http://www.nhsinform.co.uk/health-library/articles/e/erectile-dysfunction/introduction/