Here you'll find evidence-based, easy to understand information on a range of sexual and reproductive health conditions that affect men. This information is developed in collaboration with Australia’s leading researchers, specialists, clinicians and educators to help answer some of the questions you might have about symptoms, causes, and treatment options. Use these pages to make informed decisions about your health with the guidance of your doctor.


Alcohol use disorder

Alcohol use disorder is common in Australian men, and can have serious health consequences, but it is treatable.


Balanitis and balanoposthitis

Balanitis is the medical term used for inflammation of the glans penis (the head of the penis). Balanoposthitis refers to inflammation of both the head and foreskin of the penis.

Blood in semen (haematospermia)

You might notice blood in your semen before or after sex. Finding blood might seem like a worrying sign, but it’s rarely because of anything serious, and will often go away on its own. Blood in semen can just be a symptom on its own, or it can be linked to other symptoms.

Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder can severely affect your life, as distractions about your appearance take over from normal day-to-day activities.

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells that make up breast tissue. Men have a small amount of breast tissue so it’s possible for them to get breast cancer, but it’s a much rarer condition in men than women.


Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is a term used to refer to a group of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels.


Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin (the sleeve of skin that covers the end of the penis) to expose the glans (head of the penis).


Delayed ejaculation

Delayed ejaculation is a common side effect of some antidepressants (especially SSRIs). While relationship difficulties can be a factor, ongoing delayed ejaculation problems without a medical cause are uncommon.


Diabetes is a condition where you have too much sugar (specifically, a sugar called glucose) in your blood. If you have diabetes, you also have a higher chance of developing sexual and reproductive health problems.



Epididymitis is caused by infection, irritation, or injury of the epididymis – the thin, coiled tube that is found behind the testes.

Erectile dysfunction

If you’re having difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, this is called erectile dysfunction. It’s not a disease, but a symptom of another problem, which might be physical, psychological, or a mixture of both.


Fordyce spots

Fordyce spots are small (1-5 mm) pale spots that can be found on your penis and scrotum. They may also occur on your lips and the inside of your cheek.

Foreskin problems and circumcision

The foreskin is a roll of skin that covers the end of the penis. When you’re born, the penis has a foreskin. People who have been circumcised have had their foreskin removed for cultural, religious, medical, or aesthetic reasons. If you do have a foreskin, it’s important to look after it.

Fractured penis

A fractured penis can happen when there’s too much force on an erect penis. Because there are no bones in the penis, you can’t have a broken penis the way you can have a broken arm. However, an injury can cause the tissue inside the penis to rupture, resulting in a fracture.


Genital warts

Genital warts usually appear as a group of small, raised bumps on the scrotum, or on the shaft or tip of the penis. However, you may also get a single wart. Warts may also appear in or around the anus.

Gynaecomastia (man boobs)

Gynaecomastia (often socially referred to as ‘man boobs’) is when male breast tissue grows larger than usual. It’s benign, which means that it’s not cancer. You can develop gynecomastia at any age or weight, but it often arises around puberty when your hormones are changing.


Hair loss (androgenic alopecia)

Male pattern hair loss (also known as androgenetic alopecia) affects all men to some extent as they get older. Your hairline might gradually recede at the temples, and the hair at the back of your head can get thinner.


Keeping fit

There are many things you can do to keep healthy and prevent disease. A healthy diet and physical activity are important for everyone, and help prevent heart disease, diabetes and some reproductive health problems.

Klinefelter syndrome

Klinefelter Syndrome, also known as 47,XXY, is a genetic condition where you have an extra X chromosome. It’s congenital, which means that you’re born with it. Klinefelter Syndrome is a common chromosomal disorder, affecting one in 550 men. However, many people with Klinefelter Syndrome are never diagnosed.


Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus in men, also known as balanitis xerotica obliterans (or BXO), is a skin disorder characterised by white patches on the head and foreskin of the penis.

Loneliness and social isolation

Loneliness and social isolation are different things but they both have negative effects on health.

Low sex drive (low libido)

Low sex drive is the term used to describe a lack of interest in sex. Sexual desire, or sex drive, happens because of a combination of biological, personal and relationship factors. Sexual desire is different for each person, and can change over time depending on what’s happening in a person’s life.


Male hormones

Hormones are chemical messengers made by glands in your body, which are carried in your blood to act on other organs in the body. You need hormones for growth, reproduction and well-being. Androgens are male sex hormones that increase at puberty. You need them to develop into a sexually mature adult who can reproduce.

Male infertility

As a male, your fertility generally depends on the quantity and quality of your sperm. If the number of sperm you ejaculate is low, or if the sperm are of a poor quality, it will be difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get pregnant. In most cases, there are no obvious signs of infertility.

Male reproductive system

Your reproductive system is made up of many individual organs acting together. Some are visible, such as the penis and the scrotum. Some are hidden inside your body. The brain also has an important role in controlling your reproductive function.


Migraine is a complex disorder of sensory perception that affects over 1 million Australian men and boys. 

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin condition caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, which usually results in a collection of up to 30 small (2-5 mm) dome-shaped bumps on the skin. The bumps can be pale white or have a yellow or pink colour and have a ‘dimple’ or ‘pit’ in the middle.



Orchitis is inflammation of the testis (testicle) or testes (testicles).


Osteoporosis (aus-tee-oh-por-oh-sis) is a disease of the skeleton that usually affects older men and women. When you have osteoporosis, your bones become fragile and there’s a greater risk of bone fractures. The most common sites of fractures are the hip, spine, wrist and ribs.


Painful ejaculation

Painful ejaculation is when you experience painful, burning sensations during or after ejaculation. You’ll feel this pain in your perineum (the area between the anus and the genitals) and the urethra (a tube that runs from the bladder to the end of the penis). The condition can cause discomfort in the testicles, and interfere with your feelings of sexual pleasure.

Pearly penile papules

Pearly penile papules are painless, dome-shaped bumps that usually occur in one or more rows along the corona (the rounded border where the head of the penis meets the shaft).

Penis cancer (Penile cancer)

Penis cancer is uncommon, and the chance of developing penis cancer is about one in 1000. There are a variety of different things that can cause penis lumps, and most are harmless. Most penis cancers develop from skin cells in the penis, usually in the foreskin, although they can happen elsewhere in the penis. Most of these cancers grow very slowly and can be cured if found early.

Penis lumps

There are several different types of penis lumps. Many types are harmless. Some common lumps include cysts on the penis, ulcers on the penis, genital warts, and penis papules.

Peyronie's disease

Peyronie’s disease (pay-roh-neez) is when tissue in the penis hardens permanently and a lump of scar tissue (a plaque) forms on the lining of the penis. This hardened area stops the penis from stretching normally during an erection, and can affect its size and shape when erect.


Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin cannot be retracted over the glans (head) of the penis.

Premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is when you have trouble controlling when you orgasm, and you ejaculate at a time that you or your partner feel is too fast or too early. This can cause relationship problems, anxiety and distress. While this can be an unpleasant condition, it’s highly common, and can usually be treated.

Prolonged erection (priapism)

Sometimes when blood enters the penis it can become trapped, which can cause a prolonged erection. When an erection lasts for more than three hours, it’s called priapism. It’s usually very painful. Priapism isn’t always related to sexual stimulation, can be spontaneous and can happen at any age.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is a condition that causes abnormal cells to develop within the prostate gland. These cells grow, divide and multiply, creating a tumour, and sometimes spread to other parts of the body.

Prostate enlargement (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is a non-cancerous enlargement or growth of the prostate gland. It’s the most common prostate disease. As the prostate surrounds the top part of the urethra (the urine passage between the bladder and the tip of the penis), when your prostate grows, it makes the urethra narrower and puts pressure on the base of the bladder. This can affect the passing of urine in a number of ways.


If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort in and around your prostate, you might have prostatitis. Prostatitis is when the prostate becomes inflamed, which can make the prostate feel sore and irritated. Sometimes it’s very painful, and can have a huge effect on your quality of life.


Retrograde ejaculation

If you ejaculate little or no semen when you orgasm, you might be experiencing retrograde ejaculation. Retrograde ejaculation is when the muscle at the opening of the bladder, which usually stops semen from entering the bladder when you orgasm, doesn’t close properly. This causes semen to flow back into the bladder.


Scrotal lumps

Cysts on the scrotum filled with fluid are very common, especially as you get older. Varicose veins within the scrotum are also common. It’s a good idea to get any lumps on the scrotum checked by a doctor to make sure they’re not cancer.

Semen analysis

Semen analysis is when freshly ejaculated semen is tested in a laboratory, and the number, shape and movement of sperm are measured under a microscope. This analysis is an important part of diagnosing male infertility.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

A sexually transmitted infection (STI) is an infection you get or give during sexual activity. STIs can be caused by viruses (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus, herpes), bacteria (e.g., gonorrhea, syphilis), or parasites (e.g., pubic lice).

Sperm health

If you’re planning on having a child, it’s just as important for you be healthy as it is for your partner. Many things can damage your sperm, including being overweight, smoking, older age, and exposure to harmful chemicals. These factors won’t just reduce the chance of pregnancy – they can also affect the health of your baby.

Steroid misuse or abuse

Steroids are a specific group of hormones that are needed for normal body function. There are different types of steroids that act in different parts of our bodies. Steroid misuse or abuse is when you use steroids without a valid medical reason.

Storing your sperm

Semen can be frozen and stored long-term for future use. If you want to father a child at a later stage, the frozen semen is thawed and used in fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Substance use disorder

Substance use disorder is life-threatening, and can be caused by illegal or legal drugs.


Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is a condition where abnormal cells develop in the testicle. These cells then grow, divide and multiply, creating a growth or tumour. It will usually appear as a painless lump on your testicle. Many lumps are found to be fluid-filled cysts (growths), rather than cancer.

Testicular torsion

Testicular torsion is a twisting of the spermatic cord within the scrotum that reduces or completely stops, blood flow to the testis (testicle).


Testosterone is a hormone (a molecule produced by specific cells in the body that is transported in the blood to act on other cells) produced in the testicles of males, the ovaries of females, and the adrenal glands (small glands that sit above the kidneys, which secrete hormones important for many bodily functions) of both sexes.

Testosterone deficiency (Androgen deficiency)

Low testosterone (or testosterone deficiency) is when the body isn’t able to make enough testosterone to work normally. Because testosterone is the major androgen, it’s key not just for the physical changes that happen during puberty (like the development of the penis and testicles, and the growth of body hair), but for your bone and muscles, sex drive, and your general mood.

Tobacco smoking

Although smoking rates are declining, it’s still a major contributor to poor health in Australian males. When you quit, your health starts to improve quickly.


Undescended testes (Cryptorchidism)

During the normal development of a baby, testicles grow in the abdomen and move down into the scrotum before or just after birth. When this doesn’t happen, and they remain in the abdomen, they’re referred to as undescended testes.

Urinary problems (LUTS)

LUTS (lower urinary tract symptoms) are symptoms related to problems with your lower urinary tract: your bladder, your prostate and your urethra. LUTS are broadly grouped into symptoms to do with storing or passing urine. You might have symptoms linked mainly to one or the other, or a combination of both.



A varicocele occurs when the veins in the scrotum that drain blood from the testis (testicle) become abnormally dilated and large. Varicoceles may look or feel like ‘a bag of worms’ within the scrotum.


A vasectomy is a surgical operation that cuts the tubes (called the vas deferens or the ‘vas’) that carry the sperm from the testicles to the tip of the penis. Men generally get vasectomies to prevent pregnancy with a partner. It’s a very effective, safe and permanent form of contraception.