The male reproductive organs exist to manufacture sperm. The organs are prone to several relatively common conditions. Some, such as testicular or penile cancer, can be life-threatening. Others, such as infertility or erectile dysfunction can cause serious psychological distress and lower quality of life for sufferers.
The male reproductive system consists of two round glands called testes that sit in a sac (the scrotum), and the penis.
The penis contains the urethra (through which urine and sperm passes) and two tubes either side of the urethra (these fill with blood to give an erection). Sperm is produced in the testes. It travels up the vas deferens vessel to the urethra, where it mixes with prostate fluid to form semen. At climax the semen travels out of the urethra at great speed (known as ejaculation).
Cancer of the penis, or penile cancer, rarely affects men under 40, and only 1 in 100,000 men overall. It is a potentially fatal condition. With penile cancer, tumours usually appear on the end of the penis or on the foreskin.Read more
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the persistent or recurrent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity. It is sometimes known as 'impotence'. It's a very common problem, particularly affecting men past the age of 40, and around 1 in 10 men overall.Read more
Infertility is the inability to produce children after at least one year of unprotected intercourse. About one in six couples have difficulty getting pregnant, and male infertility is the cause in a quarter of cases.Read more
Peyronie's disease causes scar tissue, or a hard lump, to form inside the penis. The cause is not really known, though trauma (such as hitting or bending) of the penis may be involved.Read more
When boys are first born, their foreskin is tight. Over time it gradually loosens until it can be easily pulled back over the penis head (glans). Phimosis occurs when the foreskin remains unusually tight and cannot be drawn back.Read more
Priapism is the medical term for a persistent erection that lasts at least 4 hours. It is usually painful, and may not be related to sexual stimulation or activity. Left untreated, it can cause lasting damage to the penis.Read more
Testicular cancer, although rare, is the most common cancer in young men. It affects one in 199 men overall. As with any cancer, the cause is unknown, although there are some risk factors such as a family history of testicular cancer, an inactive lifestyle and having an undescended testicle.Read more
A varicocele is a varicose vein above the testicles. All veins have valves inside them that keep the blood moving in one direction. With varicose veins, these valves have failed and blood can pool, eventually making the veins bulge.Read more