All penises have odors. It’s natural and a normal function of the body to emit smells. However, a fishy smelling penis is not natural. Although a temporary fishy smell (perhaps after sex or a swim in a lake) may not be cause for worry, a persistent foul fragrance may be a sign of a deeper issue. Thankfully, not all causes of a smelly penis are serious, and they are often easy to remedy. Read on to find out what causes a fishy-smelling penis and how to fix it.
#1: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Often thought to be just a post-playtime plague for the ladies, men too can get a UTI. When bacteria find themselves in the urinary tract, there is inflammation, a lot of discomfort, and often sour-smelling urine. In addition to the smell, men can also experience extreme pain and an increased urge to urinate, pink urine, and pain in the side or back. Most times, a round of oral antibiotics can clear it up.
#2: Yeast Infection
Another cause that is often thought to be female only is candida, or a yeast infection. This occurs when the penis experiences an overgrowth of the Candida fungus and creates a moldy, fishy smell. Yeast infections are also marked by itching, white chunky discharge, burning, and redness. They can be transmitted to and from sexual partners or just be the result of a lack of hygiene. Treatment for candida is usually a medicine called Diflucan and can sometimes take more than one round of it.
It even sounds a little dirty. When most people think fishy penis, they think smegma. Smegma is the buildup of moisture, oils, and skin cells around the shaft of the penis for all men, and specifically under the foreskin in uncircumcised men. When it’s not dealt with, it congeals into a chunky, off-white paste that leads to a red-hot penis (and not in the good way).
Smegma is caused by poor hygiene. Washing and keeping the penis loose and airy is the best way to get rid of smegma. However, if the foreskin won’t retract or the inflammation and irritation don’t decrease, see a medical professional.
Chlamydia is an STI that’s contracted by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who’s already infected. Besides a fishy-smelling penis, symptoms can also include testicle swelling, discharge, and a burning sensation when urinating. Treatment includes a doctor-prescribed antibiotic.
Colloquially known as “The Clap,” gonorrhea is an STI that can affect the sexual organs, anus, and mouth. It is transmitted partner to partner. In addition to a funky smell, other symptoms include fiery urination, soreness, itching, pain when pooping, and a rainbow of discharge that may include white, yellow, or even green. Head to the doctor immediately for diagnosis and treatment, which can include both a shot and oral medication.
8 Tips for Preventing a Fishy-Smelling Penis
There are several easy ways to prevent a smelly penis. Incorporating them into a regular routine will guarantee a clean, fresh penis.
1) Wash the penis daily, and additionally after sex or physical activity, with warm water and a mild cleanser. Rinse thoroughly and pat or air dry, as rubbing can cause irritation.
2) When cleaning the penis, be sure to get into every nook and cranny. If uncircumcised, be sure to pull back the foreskin and gently clean thoroughly to prevent smegma buildup.
3) Keep the pubic hair neatly trimmed. Long pubic hair can hold in funky smells from moisture, bacteria, and dirt.
4) Wear loose cotton underwear so the groin isn’t compressed and has room to breathe.
5) Always have an open dialogue with sex partners about sexual health. Do not have sex with a person suspected of having an STI as evidenced by a rash, discharge, or other symptoms.
6) When having sex, use condoms and a water-based lube to prevent infection and bacteria.
7) Use a specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to keep the penis moisturized and fresh. Use a crème with vitamin A for its antibacterial properties. Also look for a crème with natural emollients like shea butter and vitamin E to seal in moisture, leaving skin hydrated and supple.