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male sexual organs
Male anatomy.png
1. Testicles
2. Epididymis
3. Corpus cavernosa
4. Foreskin
5. Frenulum
6. Urethral opening
7. 8. Corpus spongiosum
9. Penis
10. Scrotum
Latin GraySubject = 262
Artery Urethral artery
Dorlands/Elsevier Glans penis

The glans penis (or simply glans) is the sensitive bulbous structure at the distal end of the penis. It is also commonly referred to as the 'head of the penis'. Slang terms include "helmet", "nob" (or "knob"), and "bell end", and all refer to its distinctive shape. The glans penis is anatomically homologous to the clitoral glans of the female. When the penis is flaccid it is sometimes wholly or partially covered by the foreskin, except in men who have been fully circumcised. The foreskin serves to protect this delicate mucous membrane covered structure.

Glans penis

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Medical considerations

The meatus (opening) of the urethra is at the tip of the glans penis. In circumcised infants, the foreskin no longer protects the meatal area of the glans; consequently, when wearing diapers (nappies), there is a risk of developing meatitis, meatal ulceration, and meatal stenosis.[1]

The epithelium of the glans penis is mucocutaneous tissue.[2] Birley et al. report that excessive washing with soap may dry the mucous membrane that covers the glans penis and cause non-specific dermatitis.[3]

Inflammation of the glans penis is known as balanitis. It occurs in 3–11% of males, and up to 35% of diabetic males. It has many causes, including irritation, or infection with a wide variety of pathogens. Careful identification of the cause with the aid of patient history, physical examination, swabs and cultures, and biopsy are essential in order to determine the proper treatment.[4]

Anatomical details

The glans penis is the expanded cap of the corpus spongiosum. It is moulded on the rounded ends of the Corpora cavernosa penis, extending farther on their upper than on their lower surfaces. At the summit of the glans is the slit-like vertical external urethral orifice. The circumference of the base of the glans forms a rounded projecting border, the corona glandis, overhanging a deep retroglandular sulcus (the coronal sulcus), behind which is the neck of the penis. The proportional size of the glans penis can vary greatly. On some penises it is much wider in circumference than the shaft, giving the penis a mushroom-like appearance, and on others it is narrower and more akin to a probe in shape. It has been suggested that the unique and unusual shape of the glans in humans has evolved to serve the function of "scooping" any remnant semen deposited by other rival males out of the deeper part of the vagina of a female who may have recently copulated, and thereby decreasing the chance of the rival male from impregnating the female.[5] Other theorists suggest that its distinctive shape evolved to heighten the sexual pleasure experienced by the female during vaginal intercourse. In this theory, the glans increases friction and tension at the mouth of the vagina by its additional girth and the dilating properties of its probe-like shape. This maximises indirect stimulation of the clitoris by the repetitive thrusting movements of the penis inside the vagina during intercourse.

The foreskin maintains the mucosa in a moist environment.[6] In males who have been circumcised, but have not undergone restoration, the glans is permanently exposed and dry. Szabo and Short found that the glans of the circumcised penis does not develop a thicker keratinization layer.[7] Studies have suggested that the glans is equally sensitive in circumcised and uncircumcised males.[8] [9]

Halata & Munger (1986) report that the density of genital corpuscles is greatest in the corona glandis,[10] while Yang & Bradley (1998) report that their study "showed no areas in the glans to be more densely innervated than others."[11]

Halata & Spathe (1997) reported that "the glans penis contains a predominance of free nerve endings, numerous genital end bulbs and rarely Pacinian and Ruffinian corpuscles. Merkel nerve endings and Meissner's corpuscles are not present."[2]

Yang & Bradley argue that "The distinct pattern of innervation of the glans emphasizes the role of the glans as a sensory structure".[11]

Additional images

See also

References

  1. ^ Freud, Paul (August 1947). "The ulcerated urethral meatus in male children". The Journal of Pediatrics 31 (2): 131–41. doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(47)80098-8. http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/freud1/. Retrieved 2006-07-07.  
  2. ^ a b Halata, Zdenek; A. Spaethe (1997). "Sensory innervation of the human penis". Advances in experimental medicine and biology 424 (424): 265–6. PMID 9361804. http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/halata2/. Retrieved 2006-07-07.  
  3. ^ Birley, H. D.; M .M. Walker, G. A. Luzzi, R. Bell, D. Taylor-Robinson, M. Byrne & A. M. Renton (October 1993). "Clinical features and management of recurrent balanitis; association with atopy and genital washing". Genitourinary Medicine 69 (5): 400–3. PMID 8244363. PMC 1195128. http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/balanitis/birley/.  
  4. ^ Edwards, Sarah (June 1996). "Balanitis and balanoposthitis: a review". Genitourinary Medicine 72 (3): 155–9. PMID 8707315. PMC 1195642. http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/balanitis/edwards1/.  
  5. ^ Gallup, Gordon; Rebecca L. Burch, Mary L. Zappieri, Rizwan A. Parvez, Malinda L. Stockwell, Jennifer A. Davis (July 2003). "The human penis as a semen displacement device". Evolution and Human Behavior 24 (4): 277–289. doi:10.1016/S1090-5138(03)00016-3. http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/ens/article/PIIS1090513803000163/abstract.  
  6. ^ Prakash, Satya; Raghuram Rao, K. Venkatesan & S. Ramakrishnan (July 1982). "Sub-Preputial Wetness--Its Nature". Annals of National Medical Science (India) 18 (3): 109–112. http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/prakash/.  
  7. ^ Szabo, Robert; Roger V. Short (June 2000). "How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection?". British Medical Journal 320 (7249): 1592–4. doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7249.1592. PMID 10845974. PMC 1127372. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/320/7249/1592. Retrieved 2006-07-07.  
  8. ^ Masters, William H.; Virginia E. Johnson (1966). Human Sexual Response. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. pp. 189–91. ISBN 0-316-54987-8.   (excerpt accessible here)
  9. ^ Bleustein, Clifford B.; James D. Fogarty, Haftan Eckholdt, Joseph C. Arezzo and Arnold Melman (April 2005). "Effect of neonatal circumcision on penile neurologic sensation". Urology 65 (4): 773–7. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2004.11.007. PMID 15833526.  
  10. ^ Halata, Zdenek; Bryce L. Munger (April 1986). "The neuroanatomical basis for the protopathic sensibility of the human glans penis". Brain Research 371 (2): 205–30. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(86)90357-4. PMID 3697758.  
  11. ^ a b Yang, C. C.; W.E. Bradley (July 1998). "Neuroanatomy of the penile portion of the human dorsal nerve of the penis". British Journal of Urology 82 (1): 109–13. doi:10.1046/j.1464-410x.1998.00669.x. PMID 9698671.  

External links


Simple English

male sexual organs
Latin GraySubject = 262
Artery Urethral artery
Dorlands/Elsevier g_06/12392909

The glans penis (or just glans) is the sensitive tip of the penis. It is also called the "head" of the penis. Slang names include "helmet" and "bell end". When the penis is not erect, it is covered by the foreskin, except in men who have been circumcised.

File:How to feel
Glans penis (front view).

Contents

Diseases

The opening of the urethra is at the tip of the glans. In children who have been circumcised and wear diapers, the opening of the penis has no protection. This can cause the urethra to get very narrow which can need surgery to reopen later.[1]

The epithelium of the glans penis is moist and washing it too much can dry the mucous membrane that covers the glans penis and cause dermatitis.[2]

Anatomy

The glans penis is a cap around the corpus spongiosum. It is attached to the Corpus cavernosum penis and at the tip of the glans is the urethra opening. The foreskin helps keeps the glans moist.[3] In males who have been circumcised, the glans is dry.[4]

Other pages

References

  1. Freud, Paul (August 1947). "The ulcerated urethral meatus in male children". The Journal of Pediatrics 31 (2): 131–41. doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(47)80098-8. http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/freud1/. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 
  2. Birley, H. D.; M .M. Walker, G. A. Luzzi, R. Bell, D. Taylor-Robinson, M. Byrne & A. M. Renton (October 1993). "Clinical features and management of recurrent balanitis; association with atopy and genital washing". Genitourinary Medicine 69 (5): 400–3. PMID 8244363. http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/balanitis/birley/. 
  3. Prakash, Satya; Raghuram Rao, K. Venkatesan & S. Ramakrishnan (July 1982). "Sub-Preputial Wetness--Its Nature". Annals Of National Medical Science (India) 18 (3): 109–112. http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/prakash/. 
  4. Szabo, Robert; Roger V. Short (June 2000). "How does male circumcision protect against HIV infection?". British Medical Journal 320 (7249): 1592–4. doi:10.1136/bmj.320.7249.1592. PMID 10845974. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/320/7249/1592. Retrieved 2006-07-07. 

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