What Is Smegma? The Smelly Truth About Our Bodies – Health Digest

Although the combination of oils, dead skin cells, debris, and other fluids that accumulate by way of smegma is harmless, and smegma isn’t a sexually transmitted disease or infection, it does become a matter of personal hygiene. For starters, the smell can be pretty bad. This is because all of what gets collected at the head of your penis, in your foreskin, in the folds of the labia, and under the clitoral hood can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which results in a strong-smelling foul odor. Smegma can cause discoloration of your genitals too. 

Additionally, smegma can lead to ongoing inflammation in the area, shared Dr. Rena Malik. Clitoral adhesions can occur as a result of this. This is when the clitoral gland gets stuck to the hood, per the expert. In the case of penises, smegma buildup can cause the foreskin to stick to the penis. Both of these situations can be quite painful. Further complications from smegma include irritation, redness, and swelling in your genitals. For those with a penis, such irritation could even lead to a condition called “balanitis,” which is an inflammation of the head of the penis. 

Because your body starts producing more oils after you hit puberty, smegma is largely a post-puberty smelly phenomenon. Similarly, as you age, since oil production declines, the opposite is true. Smegma might not be as much of a concern in older men and post-menopausal women. How do you prevent smegma?

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