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 penisis anatomically
homologous to the glans clitoris of the female. When the penis is
flaccid it is wholly or partially covered by the foreskin,except in men
who have been circumcised. The foreskin serves to protect this delicate
mucous membrane covered structure.
Things to be taken into consideration:
- Medical considerations
- Anatomical details
- Additional images
1. Medical considerations
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, there is a risk of
developing meatitis, meatal ulceration, and meatal stenosis.
epithelium of the glans penis is mucocutaneous tissue. Birley etal.
report that excessive washing with soap may dry the mucous membranethat
covers the glans penis and cause non-specific dermatitis.
of the glans penis is known as balanitis. It occurs in 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 inorder to
determine the proper treatment.
2. Anatomical details
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 retro glandular 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.
Other theorists suggest that its distinctive shape evolved to highten
the sexual pleasure experienced by the female during vaginal intercourse.
In this theory, the glans increases friction and tensionat 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
The foreskin maintains the mucosa in a moist environment. 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 penisdoes not develop a thicker keratinization layer.
Studies have suggested that the glans is equally sensitive in
circumcised and uncircumcised males.
Halata & Munger
(1986) report that the density of genital corpuscles is greatest in the
coronaglandis,while Yang & Bradley (1998) report that their study
showed no areas in the glans to be more densely innervated than others.
Halata & Spathe (1997) reported that the glans penis
contains a predominance of free nerve endings, numerous genitalend
bulbs and rarely Pacinian and Ruffinian corpuscles. Merkel nerveendings
and Meissner's corpuscles are not present.
argue that The distinct pattern of innervation of the glans emphasizes
the role of the glans as a sensory structure