Smegma is one of the naturally occurring secretions caused by sebaceous glands that are located in the male and female genitalia. It is primarily results from the shedding of the skin cells. It is generally harmless, but it can be a problem once allowed to buildup. To know more about this, visit http://myheart.net/articles/smegma/ .
Smegma & Buildup
It is important to note that if smegma is allowed to buildup, it begins to have a bad odor. Smegma can be a medium for bacteria to breed which may lead to genito-urinary infections.
In males, the buildup of smegma may cause the foreskin to be stuck to the penis’ head; thereby, making erections painful as the foreskin cannot be retracted easily. This problem may also be experienced in females. When there’s buildup, the hood of the clitoris may be stuck to its shaft and glans which can be very painful.
Additionally, smegma buildup in males may result to balanitis; wherein, it causes inflammation to the head of the penis. Other manifestations of balanitis include foul-smelling discharges. It is a common condition among males; it is, in fact, the reason why 10% of men go to sexual health clinics for checkups.
Smegma Buildup Prevention
Smegma buildup can be prevented by proper hygiene. That is, washing the genitals with the use of warm water for at least once each day; this goes to both males and females.
For uncircumcised males, it is important to include washing underneath the foreskin as this is the place where smegma can build up.
Accoding to the NHS, it is not advisable to wash your genitals with perfumed soaps or shower gels as this may only lead to further irritation. Instead, use pH-balanced soaps designed to clean genitalias.
Is Smegma associated with Cancer?
Some studies show that there is a possibility for smegma to contain substances that can cause cancer; however, there hasn’t been enough proof yet.
The American Cancer Society believes that smegma itself may not be responsible for cancer of the penis; but, it has the potential of increasing one’s risk to cancer since it causes penile irritation.
Smegma in Children
Smegma is particularly common in young boys. This is primarily because their penis experiences a change as their foreskin detaches for the penis’ head; which requires shedding of the skin cells. This change may occur at various ages; but it usually occurs before the age of 5.
When cleaning your child’s foreskin to remove or prevent smegma, it is important for you to remember not to force the foreskin back as it may cause pain, bleeding, tears, and even scars to the skin.