Discussing matters that affect men below the belt often stirs immaturity, amusement and general embarrassment, but knowing these warning signs could help you identify a serious condition that is no laughing matter.

Men are notoriously modest when it comes to seeking medical advice from an expert –especially if their nagging symptoms are affecting the most intimate part of their body or are most noticeable in the bathroom or bedroom. But, our specialists are here to help. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s time to advocate for your own urologic or reproductive health and make an appointment.

1. Pus oozing from the tip of your penis.

Pus is a red flag for infection, and in this case, there can be several reasons: an inflamed urethra or prostate, which can be easily cleared up with antibiotics; an STD, which your doctor can identify and treat appropriately; and prostate cancer, which can be determined through testing by your doctor. No matter the cause — this is a symptom that requires medical attention and must be dealt with.

2. Wetting the bed or your boxers.

About one percent of adults are bed wetters, either because of a small bladder, genetic predisposition or an overactive bladder. But if you’ve only recently started to have trouble holding it or started to wet the bed or dribble in your boxers, it’s time to visit your doctor. These symptoms could be a sign of prostate cancer or they could be an indicator of a benign condition like prostate enlargement.

3. Painful sex.

It seems like an oxymoron, but painful ejaculation does happen. If it is a recent occurrence, it’s possible you have a blockage, infection, or nerve damage in the penis. Take notice if your use of contraceptive could be the culprit. But, don’t ignore this symptom because it could be a tell-tale sign of prostate cancer.

4. Penile curvature.

With Peyronie’s disease, the official name for a curved penis, fibrous scar tissues develop deep in the tissues of the penis, often without any reason. Doctors have noted that men who have been treated for prostate cancer have a higher risk of developing this condition. But take a deep breath: the doctors at USC Institute of Urology of Keck Medicine of USC are experts in surgically treating penile curvature.

5. Bleeding when you urinate.

An enlarged prostate may cause you to bleed during urination. However, this symptom is also associated with bladder and prostate cancer. It might not be painful, and the blood could be visible only under a microscope, but if you are experiencing other issues with urination, it could signal a more serious health issue.

If you are experiencing any of these conditions, it is better to be safe than sorry.

The USC Institute of Urology of Keck Medicine of USC has some of the world’s top urology specialists. If you are in the Los Angeles area, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting http://urology.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.

By Heidi Tyline King