Smegma 101: What Is It, What You Need to Know, and How to Stop It
Washing your body should be a part of your normal hygiene routine, am I right? Well, I know I’m right, which means I’m also right in saying that washing your genitals thoroughly should also be a part of your normal hygiene routine. I’m only saying this because some men don’t take this seriously. Some men think they can get away with only washing up every few days. I hope you, the person reading this article, is not the some men I’m talking about.
However, if you just so happen to be that some men I am talking about, chances are you may have the dreaded smegma in your genitalia area. Don’t worry, this is very common amongst men, especially if they don’t clean their privates often enough. Smegma is, however, more common amongst those that are uncircumcised.
It’s okay, though. I’m here to help talk you through the whole smegma ordeal. I’m here to tell you exactly what it is, as well as what you should know about it, and how to stop it from happening (or treat it if you already have it).
Let’s get started.
Smegma – What it really is
Smegma is a combination of bodily fluids secreted by the penis. Specifically speaking, smegma is a mixture of both sebaceous oil gland secretions and secretions made from dead skin cells. They typically join together under the foreskin of the penis. After the two secretions form a substance, the substance resembles a white and cheesy thick liquid. If left there, smegma can become a perfect ground for bacteria build-up.
Though it’s most common for men with uncircumcised penis’ to have smegma hanging around, men with circumcised penis’ can still produce the sticky substance. And, because no circumcision is 100% done correctly, some circumcisions may leave men with a little foreskin afterward, therefore allowing for smegma build-up to be more common in said men.
Is smegma common?
The answer to that question is yes, it is common. Every person has sebaceous glands and every person has dead skin cells, which means producing smegma can technically be a natural bodily function.
As a matter of fact, according to most health care professionals, the oils secreted by sebaceous glands are super healthy for us. These oils enable us to produce a sort of natural lubrication for our genitalia, which is highly important for having sexual intercourse. Plus, if we didn’t have natural lubrication, our sex organs would be so dry that it would probably become super uncomfortable for us to go about our daily lives.
In turn, having smegma doesn’t necessarily make you dirty or clean because it’s actually a natural bodily fluid. It just means that you need to clean up a little more. Medical professionals warn men (and even women) to clean up if they naturally produce smegma. This is due to the fact that if smegma is left without being taken care of, the person who has it may suffer from a range of things, including but not limited to, foul-smelling odors protruding out from their genitalia, skin irritations, skin breaks, and sexually transmissible infections. If men are uncircumcised and allow smegma build-up to occur over a long period of time, the foreskin may end up sticking to the penis, resulting in a painful visit to the doctor.
Treatment and Prevention of Smegma
First things first, wash up on a daily basis. If you do this, and if you do this the right way, then a little light smegma build-up is not a big deal. Light smegma build-up does not need to be looked at by a doctor, and it does not need to be taken care of by a medical professional. All you have to do is gently wash it away (be careful not to irritate your genitalia or the skin surrounding it when you do this). Gently wash the secretions away by using a warm washcloth or use your fingers to wipe it off.
On the other hand, if you’re uncircumcised and you have more than a little bit of smegma build-up down there, medical professionals recommend you to be a little bit more aggressive down there when you’re cleaning up. All you have to do is pull the foreskin back, wet a washcloth with some semi-hot water and a non-scented soap, and start gently scrubbing the entire genitalia region.
Many medical professionals warn men to be careful of smegma build-up, mainly because bacteria can start to live and nest in such areas of build-up. If you do have bacteria present where the foreskin is, your genitalia are at a greater risk for infection. This, in turn, means that your penis is at a greater risk of acquiring any type of infection, including bacteria-related, virus-related, and fungus-related infections.
In some cases, smegma build-up can cause hardening of the foreskin. In addition, this condition can lead to irritation and redness of the penis, an infection known as balanitis. If this infection is acquired, the person should immediately go to a dermatologist to seek treatment. If they do not seek medical help as soon as possible, they will likely contract an STI that will take longer to treat and get rid of.
The #1 way to prevent smegma build-up is to wash your penis at least a few times a week. If you’re uncircumcised, make sure you wash all areas under your foreskin and around your genitals with soap and water. I know this may seem like a common hygiene rule, but some men don’t abide by it. Be sure to practice good hygiene as often as possible. If you do this, you’ll surely be happier, and have healthier genitalia later on.
By Jenny Lyn