Proper hygiene is important in maintaining genital health, and this includes taking good care of pubic hair to prevent heat and sweat from becoming breeding areas for infections.
However, a wrong method of hair management can introduce infections to the penis and scrotum.
According to Dr Moses Degaulle Dogbatsey, the Chief Medical Officer at the Medi-Moses Clinic and Herbal Centre in Accra, men who trimmed rather than shaved or used other complete hair removal systems were least likely to develop allergic reactions, skin irritation, trauma or infections.
He explained that the hair follicles, when cut from the base, could result in razor bumps which were potential sources of infections.
He advised that it was more appropriate to use a small scissors to trim the hair to the base rather than shave the hair off completely.
In some cases, Dr Dogbatsey said shaving resulted in accidental cutting which could introduce bacteria from other parts of the body.
“Some of these bacteria are just waiting for such openings so they multiply and cause infections. Once they enter the skin and start feeding on the cells in there, they grow and begin to cause infections. Some people are also allergic to razor bumps, and so when the hair starts growing, it itches. Itching can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing. For such people, it is better to trim,” he said.
He added that trimming with scissors could also result in accidental cutting, so if the men could not trim by themselves, they could let their wives or partners assist them.
Dr Dogbatsey, who is also the CEO of the Medi Moses Group of Companies, said some of those infections, if not identified early, could lead to other serious complications and that made proper care of the genitals critical.
The penis and scrotal area, he advised, ought to be kept dry after bathing as moisture trapped in the area could quickly become a breeding ground for fungus.
“Bath regularly and wear loose, comfortable clothing. The optimum environment for sperm production is lower than the body temperature, so allow your scrotum to hang naturally from your body to help keep the scrotal temperature low.
“A monthly testicular self-examination is also important to detect any abnormalities or changes in the scrotum and any change must be reported at a health facility for prompt treatment.
“To self-examine for any changes in the scrotum, you roll each testicle around with your fingers and check for lumps, swollen or tender areas.
“While some of the infections are not severe and can be treated within a short period, others can lead to severe consequences such as infertility,” he added.
Signs of infections
Dr Dogbatsey explained that the signs of infections varied depending on the type of infection.
In some cases, he said the testes became hard, painful to touch, warm or swollen.
Such signs, when ignored, can result in the shrinking of the testes, gradual reduction in sperm production and weak ejaculation.
Dr Dogbatsey explained that some signs might seem minor and so most men were likely to patronise products advertised to correct infections and sexual weakness.
The danger, he explained, was that the condition could be worse than it appeared, so the appropriate thing to do was to first see an expert for examination and recommendations.
“Over-the-counter drugs buying can lead to serious complications. On the market, there are some drugs which are effective for certain conditions but the drugs must be recommended by a health expert,” he stated.