Good News, Dudes: You Might Not Have Herpes

jockitch.jpg
At the Voice, we're all about staying healthy, especially when it comes to sexytime-area health -- hence our brief expose on the
pros and cons of going commando -- which many a lady use as a way of keeping cool in the summer.

That got us thinking: What about dudes? Does the season's heat impact their nether-regions, too? And, perhaps most importantly: Is freeballing healthy?

So we decided to hit up Planned Parenthood New York's resident expert on menfolk health, Janeen Lopez, lead clinician at the Brooklyn center. What did she say?

Speaking specifically of the summer, she said that jock itch -- analogous to a male yeast infection, if you will -- is a big issue.

"A lot of times guys get concerned," she said. "They come in and they think something is really wrong with them. I would think that guys would know what jock itch is from a young age, and a lot of times they don't -- a lot of patients come in thinking they have herpes or something, and really all it is is a fungus in their groin area."

The symptoms?

"Mostly there's a rash in the groin area and sometimes on the scrotum. Sometimes, it can spread down the legs a little bit. It's mostly itchy."

How do they get that and why is it worse in the summer?

"We have fungus on our skin naturally, so if you're skin gets irritated, it can turn into infection. When guys sweat, the skin is more prone to infection, and instead of being on the surface of the skin, the fungus gets into the skin."

Lopez said the best way to prevent the condition is with proper hygiene -- "keeping your skin clean and dry, using soap that's not irritating, and using laundry detergent that isn't irritating."

If all else fails, not to worry: Lopez said that most cases can be treated with over-the-counter creams available at all pharmacies.

Another thing commonly seen in the summer, is inflammation of hair follicles, AKA folliculitis.

Worry has grown, she said, since more men are shaving down there.

"People really do get really stressed out about folliculitis being herpes," she said. "And sometimes that bump is herpes and they assume that it's just an ingrown hair. It's something you should get checked out, but it's often not a big deal."

And is there anything that dudes should be aware of regarding summer lovin'?

Yes!

Lopez emphasized that men needed to get checked for STDs, since a lot of the cases she sees involve men without symptoms -- they find out because they unknowingly infected a partner.

Last but certainly not least, we had to get Lopez's comment on freeballing -- in her clinincal experience, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

"I would say it doesn't matter," she said. "You might not want to go running like that, though. You might want some support if you're running but if you're not running, I think that it's fine!"

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.



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