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Basic anatomy: the penis

  • The penis is the major male reproductive organ. It also forms part of the male urinary tract system since it contains the urethra, which not only carries sperm outside the body, but also conducts urine from the bladder.
  • The penis is made of three major parts: the base, shaft and glans. The base and glans form the portions closest and furthest away from the body, respectively. The shaft forms the main body of the penis.
  • The base attaches the penis to the body via the bony pelvis. 
  • The shaft consists of the corpora cavernosa, the corpus spongiosum, and a sturdy layer of fat and skin. 
  • The corpora cavernosa are paired cylinders of erectile tissue and provide the erectile properties of the penis. They are made of a spongey tissue with a lattice-like structure that is able to fill with blood to produce an erection. 
  • The corpus spongiosum is close to the surface of the penis and encloses the urethra. It also consists of a sponge-like tissue and, when filled with blood during an erection, helps to keep the urethra open.
  • The glans is found at the tip of the penis and, in uncircumcized men, is covered by the foreskin.


Basic anatomy of the penis

  Image © Patient Pictures


Penis problems

There are a large number of conditions that can affect the penis, and it is surprising how many myths and misconceptions surround penis health. All men should be aware of their penis’ health and understand what is and isn’t normal. They should also know that as medical professionals, doctors are used to seeing the human body and that there is no need for embarrassment. See the ‘Related articles’ box in the top-right corner of this page for links to a range of penis problems and video guides

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Last updated: Thursday, March 16th 2017


In part 1 of Dr Phil Hammond's penis trilogy, he discusses the head of the penis and foreskin, how to keep it clean, and what to do if the foreskin is tight. Click on the video below to find out more.
In part 2, Dr Phil checks out lumps, bumps and STIs, and tells you what's normal, and what's not.
In part 3 he asks 'Does size matter?' Click on the video below to find out more about normal size, and penis enlargement and thickening.

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Comments on this article

Posted by Optional on 14/10/2015 at 05:35

Another issue some people have is a peyronies disease (aka curved penis) which there are many treatments for, including a new treatment called a PDD which can be found here:


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