Microplastics found in penis could be linked to erectile dysfunction, study says

Microplastics have been detected in human penis samples for the first time, raising questions about their potential role in causing erectile dysfunction.

Microplastics, tiny plastic particles less than 5 mm in diameter, have gotten into almost everything on the planet, from polar regions and ocean floors to salt and bottled beverages.

They have previously been found in semen and testes as well.

The toxic particles affect the human immune system and are linked to several types of cancer.

The penis may be particularly vulnerable due to high blood flows during erections, according to a study published in the journal IJIR on Wednesday.

“We present the first study to our knowledge to identify the presence of MPs within penile tissue,” the study said.

“Our research adds a key dimension to the discussion on man-made pollutants, focusing on microplastics in the male reproductive system.”

Scientists analysed tissue samples extracted from five men who underwent surgery for a prosthesis related to erectile dysfunction.

“Seven types of microplastics were found in the penile tissue, with polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene being the most prevalent,” they said.

Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, and polypropylene are routinely used in everyday goods like the material used for packaging juices and soft drinks.

In spite of its small sample size, the research raises questions about the effect of pollutants on sexual health.

Scientists suspect the dilation of blood vessels during an erection may create an environment where circulating microplastics may interact and accumulate within the penile tissue.

Microplastics, the study noted, “pervade our environment and are here to stay for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is imperative to understand how they interact with the human body to grasp their potential implications on human health and physiology”.


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