Health Topics

Male reproductive system

Anatomy
National Library of Medicine

Anatomy is the science that studies the structure of the body. On this page, you'll find links to descriptions and pictures of the human body's parts and organ systems from head to toe.


Anatomy
Digestive System
Blood, Heart and Circulation
Eyes and Vision
Bones, Joints and Muscles
Kidneys and Urinary System
Brain and Nerves
Lungs and Breathing
Ear, Nose and Throat
Mouth and Teeth
Skin, Hair and Nails
Pregnancy and Reproduction
Immune System
Endocrine System
Male Reproductive System
Anatomy is the science that studies the structure of the body. On this page, you'll find links to descriptions and pictures of the human body's parts and organ ...
Sexual Health
National Library of Medicine
Sex

Sexuality is a big part of being human. Love, affection and sexual intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships. They also contribute to your sense of well-being. A number of disorders can affect the ability to have or enjoy sex in both men and women.

Factors that can affect sexual health include

  • Fear of unplanned pregnancy
  • Concerns about infertility
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Chronic diseases such as cancer or heart disease
  • Medicines that affect sexual desire or performance

Sexual Health
Women
Men
Wellness and Lifestyle
Sexual Health Issues
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
Sexuality is a big part of being human. Love, affection and sexual intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships. They also contribute to your sense of well- ...
Sexual Problems in Men
National Library of Medicine
Premature Ejaculation

Many men have sexual problems. They become more common as men age. Problems can include

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced or lost interest in sex
  • Problems with ejaculation
  • Low testosterone

Stress, illness, medicines, or emotional problems may also be factors. Occasional problems with sexual function are common. If problems last more than a few months or cause distress for you or your partner, you should see your health care provider.


Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological
Men
Sexual Health Issues
Male Reproductive System
Many men have sexual problems. They become more common as men age. Problems can include Erectile dysfunction Reduced or lost interest in sex Problems with ...
Testicular Disorders
National Library of Medicine
Male Genital Disorders
Semen
Undescended Testicle

Testicles, or testes, make male hormones and sperm. They are two egg-shaped organs inside the scrotum, the loose sac of skin behind the penis. It's easy to injure your testicles because they are not protected by bones or muscles. Men and boys should wear athletic supporters when they play sports.

You should examine your testicles monthly and seek medical attention for lumps, redness, pain or other changes. Testicles can get inflamed or infected. They can also develop cancer. Testicular cancer is rare and highly treatable. It usually happens between the ages of 15 and 40.


Testicular Diseases
Endocrine System
Men
Sexual Health Issues
Male Reproductive System
Testicles, or testes, make male hormones and sperm. They are two egg-shaped organs inside the scrotum, the loose sac of skin behind the penis. It's easy to injure ...
Reproductive Hazards
National Library of Medicine
Pregnancy Hazards
What are reproductive hazards?

Reproductive hazards are substances that affect the reproductive health of men or women. They also include substances that affect the ability of couples to have healthy children. These substances may be chemical, physical, or biological. Some common types include

  • Alcohol
  • Chemicals such as pesticides
  • Smoking
  • Legal and illegal drugs
  • Metals such as lead and mercury
  • Radiation
  • Some viruses

You may be exposed to reproductive hazards through contact with your skin, breathing them in, or swallowing them. This can happen anywhere, but it is more common in the workplace or at home.

What are the health effects of reproductive hazards?

The possible health effects of reproductive hazards include infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and developmental disabilities in children. What type of health effects they cause and how serious they are depends on many factors, including

  • What the substance is
  • How much of it you are exposed to
  • How it enters your body
  • How long or how often you are exposed
  • How you react to the substance
How can reproductive hazards affect men?

For a man, a reproductive hazard can affect the sperm. A hazard may cause a problem with the number of sperm, their shape, or the way that they swim. It could also damage the sperm's DNA. Then the sperm may not be able to fertilize an egg. Or it could cause problems with the development of the fetus.

How can reproductive hazards affect women?

For a woman, a reproductive hazard can disrupt the menstrual cycle. It can cause hormone imbalance, which can raise the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain cancers. It can affect a woman's ability to get pregnant.

A woman who is exposed during pregnancy can have different effects, depending on when she was exposed. During the first 3 months of pregnancy, it might cause a birth defect or a miscarriage. During the last 6 months of pregnancy, it could slow the growth of the fetus, affect the development of its brain, or cause preterm labor.

How can reproductive hazards be avoided?

To try to avoid reproductive hazards,

  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs during pregnancy
  • If you smoke, try to quit. And if you are not a smoker, don't start
  • Take precautions if you are using household chemicals or pesticides
  • Use good hygiene, including handwashing
  • If there are hazards at your job, make sure to follow safe work practices and procedures

Paternal Exposure
Maternal Exposure
Women
Pregnancy and Reproduction
Men
Sexual Health Issues
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
What are reproductive hazards? Reproductive hazards are substances that affect the reproductive health of men or women. They also include substances that ...
Assisted Reproductive Technology
National Library of Medicine
Egg Donation
Gestational Carrier
IVF
In Vitro Fertilization
Sperm Donation
Surrogate
ART

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is used to treat infertility. It includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman's egg and a man's sperm. It works by removing eggs from a woman's body. The eggs are then mixed with sperm to make embryos. The embryos are then put back in the woman's body. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of ART.

ART procedures sometimes use donor eggs, donor sperm, or previously frozen embryos. It may also involve a surrogate or gestational carrier. A surrogate is a woman who becomes pregnant with sperm from the male partner of the couple. A gestational carrier becomes pregnant with an egg from the female partner and the sperm from the male partner.

The most common complication of ART is a multiple pregnancy. It can be prevented or minimized by limiting the number of embryos that are put into the woman's body.


In Vitro Techniques
Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is used to treat infertility. It includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman's egg and a man's sperm. It works ...
Chlamydia Infections
National Library of Medicine
What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both men and women. Women can get chlamydia in the cervix, rectum, or throat. Men can get chlamydia in the urethra (inside the penis), rectum, or throat.

How do you get chlamydia?

You can get chlamydia during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the infection. A woman can also pass chlamydia to her baby during childbirth.

If you've had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can get re-infected if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.

Who is at risk of getting chlamydia?

Chlamydia is more common in young people, especially young women. You are more likely to get it if you don't consistently use a condom, or if you have multiple partners.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Chlamydia doesn't usually cause any symptoms. So you may not realize that you have it. People with chlamydia who have no symptoms can still pass the disease to others. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner.

Symptoms in women include

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, which may have a strong smell
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain during intercourse

If the infection spreads, you might get lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, nausea, or fever.

Symptoms in men include

  • Discharge from your penis
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Burning or itching around the opening of your penis
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)

If the chlamydia infects the rectum (in men or women), it can cause rectal pain, discharge, and/or bleeding.

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

There are lab tests to diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample. For women, providers sometimes use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia.

Who should be tested for chlamydia?

You should go to your health provider for a test if you have symptoms of chlamydia, or if you have a partner who has a sexually transmitted disease. Pregnant women should get a test when they go to their first prenatal visit.

People at higher risk should get checked for chlamydia every year:

  • Sexually active women 25 and younger
  • Older women who have new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted disease
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
What are the complications of chlamydia?

In women, an untreated infection can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had chlamydia infections more than once are at higher risk of serious reproductive health complications.

Men often don't have health problems from chlamydia. Sometimes it can infect the epididymis (the tube that carries sperm). This can cause pain, fever, and, rarely, infertility.

Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis because of a chlamydia infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens as a "reaction" to an infection in the body.

Babies born to infected mothers can get eye infections and pneumonia from chlamydia. It may also make it more likely for your baby to be born too early.

Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV/AIDS.

What are the treatments for chlamydia?

Antibiotics will cure the infection. You may get a one-time dose of the antibiotics, or you may need to take medicine every day for 7 days. Antibiotics cannot repair any permanent damage that the disease has caused.

To prevent spreading the disease to your partner, you should not have sex until the infection has cleared up. If you got a one-time dose of antibiotics, you should wait 7 days after taking the medicine to have sex again. If you have to take medicine every day for 7 days, you should not have sex again until you have finished taking all of the doses of your medicine.

It is common to get a repeat infection, so you should get tested again about three months after treatment.

Can I prevent chlamydia?

The only sure way to prevent chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading chlamydia.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Chlamydia Infections
Infections
Sexual Health Issues
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
What is chlamydia? Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both men and ...
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
National Library of Medicine
Crab Lice
STD
Venereal Disease
STDs
Sexually transmitted infections

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including

  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV/AIDS
  • HPV
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.

Antibiotics can treat STDs caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. There is no cure for STDs caused by a virus, but medicines can often help with the symptoms and keep the disease under control.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading STDs. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Women
Infections
Men
Sexual Health Issues
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, ...
Birth Control
National Library of Medicine
Contraception
Family Planning
IUD

Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods may work in a number of different ways:

  • Preventing sperm from getting to the eggs. Types include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and contraceptive sponges.
  • Keeping the woman's ovaries from releasing eggs that could be fertilized. Types include birth control pills, patches, shots, vaginal rings, and emergency contraceptive pills.
  • IUDs, devices which are implanted into the uterus. They can be kept in place for several years.
  • Sterilization, which permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant

Your choice of birth control should depend on several factors. These include your health, frequency of sexual activity, number of sexual partners and desire to have children in the future. Your health care provider can help you select the best form of birth control for you.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Family Planning Services
Contraception
Women
Pregnancy and Reproduction
Men
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods may work in a number of different ways: Preventing sperm ...
Genital Herpes
National Library of Medicine
Herpes Genitalis

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can cause sores on your genital or rectal area, buttocks, and thighs. You can get it from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has it. The virus can spread even when sores are not present. Mothers can also infect their babies during childbirth.

Symptoms of herpes are called outbreaks. You usually get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. The sores are blisters which break and become painful, and then heal. Sometimes people do not know they have herpes because they have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. The virus can be more serious in newborn babies or in people with weak immune systems.

Repeat outbreaks are common, especially during the first year. Over time, you get them less often and the symptoms become milder. The virus stays in your body for life.

There are tests that can diagnose genital herpes. There is no cure. However, medicines can help lessen symptoms, decrease outbreaks, and lower the risk of passing the virus to others. Correct usage of latex condoms can reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading herpes. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.


Herpes Genitalis
Infections
Sexual Health Issues
Female Reproductive System
Male Reproductive System
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). It can cause sores on your genital or rectal area, buttocks, and ...