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Urology/applying oil on penis

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QUESTION: Is it safe to apply food grade olive oil or coconut oil onto the tip of penis without risk of allowing bacteria to enter through the urethra? could these oils contain viruses or bacteria?

thanks.

ANSWER: Jim:

Unless the oil has been sterilized, there is the possibility of bacteria and/or viruses.

A small amount of oil might enter the urethra, but this is generally considered harmless although it cannot be guaranteed to be completely safe 100% of the time.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: what kind of bacteria or virus?
isnt coconut oil supposed to be anti bacterial so how can it harbour bacteria?

my concern is, could i catch aids or other Sexually transmitted infections by using these oils?

ANSWER: Jim:

There is no way to tell what kind of bacteria or virus without specific testing and that would only identify the contaminants in that particular bottle of oil.

Whether coconut oil is supposedly ant-bacterial or not doesn't matter: the issue is that it has not specifically been sterilized and therefore must be considered contaminated with some bacteria and/or viruses.

Catching AIDS or any STD would be exceedingly rare and unusual.  (We never say never on this forum because almost anything is possible once!)

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I think you are being ridiculously cautious and pessimistic rather than realistic.

So what about soap that you buy in the store that billions of people all over the world use? Im sure many men and women specifically wash their genital area using soap to clean it, so by your reasoning this is potentially risky because the soap can harbour bacteria or viruses which could have come from the manufacturing process and by applying it they are at risk.

What about plain old bath water? water is where you tend to find bacteria and viruses. Bath water is not the same supply as drinking water and so by washing in it, you are exposing your urethra to bacteria. And in any case small amounts of bacteria are killed by stomach acid so what you put on your urethra has to be cleaner than what you drink. Otherwise you are at risk.

Correct?

Answer
Jim:

I am not going to guarantee  that any particular product is safe to use on the genitalia.  I'm not a product tester and I can't make any statement about any product being 100% safe when applied to the genitalia because somebody somewhere will be allergic or something!  In general, organic non-toxic oils are considered reasonably safe to use in the way you've described but that doesn't make them sterile or without bacteria.  Even if they started out sterile, they would quickly pick up skin bacteria from contact.

Your question specifically asked if the product could be placed "onto the tip of penis without risk of allowing bacteria to enter through the urethra? could these oils contain viruses or bacteria?"  If a product is not specifically certified as sterile, then it must therefore be considered unsterile which by definition means that it could contain bacteria or viruses.

I never said that using coconut oil or soap or bath water was risky; just that since these products are not specifically sterile, there is the possibility of bacteria and/or viruses entering the tip of the urethra.  This is rarely a problem since the development of a significant infection would be quite rare, but that wasn't your question as stated!

Likewise, drinking water that is perfectly safe to drink is not necessarily sterile either.

It should also be pointed out that baths and dirty bathwater are associated with a higher risk of urinary infections, particularly in women.

I hope the issue has been clarified for you now.  

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Stephen W. Leslie, MD

Expertise

Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.

Experience

Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

Organizations
American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Publications
Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Education/Credentials
Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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