I got an itch after a one-night stand
It all began as a night of fun with Henry (not real name) attending his friend’s bachelor’s party. The music, dancing and booze got to his head, and before he knew it, he was staring at the unfamiliar face of lying by his side the following morning. He frantically looked around for the assurance of a used condom, but found none. Two weeks later, he felt a burning sensation when he passed urine.
“I dreaded going to the bathroom, so to reduce the unpleasant experience, I cut back on my water intake despite the 24-hour, throat drying air conditioning we had in our office,” he narrates. He confided in a friend who advised him to take Panadol.
“The usual dosage is two tablets thrice a day, but because I was desperate I took three tablets, thrice a day. Still there was no improvement. I even lost appetite when another friend told me I was going to become sterile if I did not go for treatment. So I resorted to washing my penis thrice a day with cold water, desperately hoping to relieve the fire I felt.
My elder sister then advised me to visit a gynaecologist, which did not go down well with me. Those were doctors meant for women issues, especially pregnant women, I thought. There was no way I was going to sit in queue sandwiched by women because of just a little discomfort.
But when I could not bear the pain, I went to the doctor late in the evening when I hoped there were not many patients. I remember getting to the clinic at about 5:30pm, but sat outside nonchalantly, so that if anyone came, they would think I was a husband to one of the ladies in the queue.
When the last patient was leaving at about 7:45pm, I dashed into the doctor’s office, explained my predicament and was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. I was given antibiotics, and sent on my merry, fire free-way.”
By Rebecca Nalunga and Elizabeth Namazzi
Many men suffer with penis problems until they disappear or confide in fellow men. Some, like Andrew, opt for self-medication. Andrew, a married man, has had an itchy rash on his penis for days. He is unwilling to seek medical help because he is shy about discussing penis problems with a doctor. “How can I start showing a fellow man my gadget?” he asks, sounding alarmed.
His workmate recommended hydrocortisone cream, which he has applied for the last two days.
“The itching and the rash are disappearing, so I see no need for a doctor. I do not know what caused it, but my wife would not be pleased if she found out,” he says.
Dr. Godfrey Habomugisha, the acting director of Public Health and Environment at KCCA and a practising gynaecologist at Naguru Medical Laboratory confirms that few men are bold enough to visit a gynaecologist or a general doctor.
“Doctors are forced to give them treatment through contact tracing. This means that doctors treat men through their partners,” he explains.
Patrick, an engineer in Kampala, received treatment through contact tracing when his wife got an infection. “I was surprised when she gave me tablets. She said the doctor had advised that I get treatment too, to avoid re-infecting her. I was offended at first but accepted eventually. I was relieved that I did not have to visit the doctor personally,” he says.
Men are not aware
Oscar, a banker in town, was surprised when we mentioned genital warts.
“I always thought genital warts are for people in other continents,” he confessed while laughing.
A number of men suffer from retrograde ejaculation, a condition where semen enters the bladder instead of coming out through the penis, while others, have foreskins that cannot be retracted from the penis head or returned to the normal position. Doctors recommend circumcision for such cases.
Cleaning the penis
Derrick, an employee with an NGO in Moroto, confesses that he takes at least two days without a bath because water is scarce. But Dr. Habomugisha says men should bathe at least twice a day to rid the body of dirt, sweat and grime that stick to the skin and attract germs.
“Dirty skin may result into infections and a foul smelling whitish discharge called smegma under the foreskin. Smegma is produced by moisture and dirt accumulating under the skin and is a breeding ground for germs that cause infection,” he explains.
Habomugisha advises that proper cleaning involves using soap and clean water for circumcised men before rising and drying. Uncircumcised men should pull back the foreskin, wash with soap and clean water then rinse off and dry. Another alternative is to get circumcised and get rid of the foreskin altogether.
Causes of penis Problems
Sexually transmitted diseases genital warts, syphilis, gonorrhea and herpes simplex
Prolonged use of antibiotics can lead to yeast infections
Danger signs for STIs
Discomfort in or around the penis
Sores or blisters
Burning sensation while urinating
A foul discharge
Pain, itching, swelling,
For yeast infections
Bruises, rashes and white patches on the penis
Bent and painful erections. IPeyronie’s disease involves the development of abnormal scar tissue in tissues inside the penis.
A wart-like blister on the foreskin or head of the penis that discharges watery pus.
Bleeding while urinating or ejaculating.