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.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

B

Blood in semen

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.

D

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 and reproductive health

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.

E

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.

F

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.

H

Hair loss and balding

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.

K

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.

L

Low sex drive

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.

M

Male breasts (gynecomastia)

Gynecomastia (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.

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.

O

Osteoporosis

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.

P

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.

Penis 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.

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.

Prostatitis

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.

R

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.

S

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 for infertility

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.

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.

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).

T

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.

Testosterone 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.

U

Undescended testes

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.

V

Vasectomy

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.

Vasectomy reversal

A vasectomy reversal involves re-joining the cut ends of the vas deferens, usually by microsurgery. The operation is much more complex than the original vasectomy and is generally done under general anaesthetic by a specialist.