CLEVELAND CLINIC – Your penis serves some big roles in your body. Of course, it houses a drainage system that allows your body to get rid of urine. It’s also a key player in the reproductive process and the act of making whoopie.
But did you know your penis also offers a window to your health? It turns out the performance or appearance of your penis can provide clues about what’s happening to you physically and mentally.
So, what secrets can the appendage reveal? Let’s look at six potential learning opportunities with urologist Ryan Berglund, MD.
1. Heart health
Erectile dysfunction, or the inability to get or maintain an erection, isn’t an unusual occurrence. Your penis may just decide to not cooperate at times for a multitude of reasons, many of which are no big deal.
But if you consistently have trouble getting or keeping your penis up, it might signal heart disease and blood flow issues.
A 2018 study linked erectile dysfunction (ED) to increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke. Dr. Berglund notes that almost two-thirds of people who’ve also had heart attacks also experience ED.
“Erectile dysfunction, particularly if you’re younger, should be regarded as a warning sign for heart disease,” he adds.
Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection also may signal the onset of diabetes, which can damage the nerves, blood vessels and muscle function that work in tandem to get your penis up.
Research shows that someone with diabetes is three times more likely to report instances of ED. In addition, ED often occurs 10 to 15 years earlier and is more severe in those with diabetes.
3. Mental health issues