A lot of misinformation about masturbation is circulating around the internet. It’s important to know that masturbation:
- won’t make you grow hair on your palms
- doesn’t give people erectile dysfunction
- won’t damage your kidneys
- The myth that masturbation affects your kidneys may have originated from a concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It was thought that your kidneys were the reservoir of semen and that frequent masturbation and ejaculation could create imbalances in your body that could lead to sickness.
However, there’s no scientific basis for this idea, and there isn’t any evidence that frequent ejaculation or masturbation causes any health concerns.
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In this article, we’ll debunk the myth that masturbation harms your kidneys and also look at one kidney condition masturbation may help.
Does masturbation affect your kidneys?
There’s no evidence that masturbation negatively impacts your kidney health. There’s also no evidence that masturbation can cause:
- kidney failure
- kidney disease
- kidney pain
Some people mistakenly believe that a loss of protein and nutrients through semen can lead to kidney damage. Again, there’s no scientific basis for this idea.
There are very few nutrients in semen that are present to nourish sperm. The few nutrients don’t have a significant impact on your health.
Masturbation and kidney stones
There’s some evidence that masturbation may help dispel kidney stones. In a 2020 study, researchers examined the effect of masturbating 3 to 4 times per week for dropping 5- to 10-millimeter stones.
The researchers found that masturbation combined with standard medical therapy was equally effective as taking the medicine tamsulosin combined with standard medical therapy. Though the study raises an interesting concept, it requires more research to fully understand.
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What are the benefits of masturbation?
There are a limited number of studies specifically looking at the benefits of masturbation. Most research has looked at the benefits of orgasms or ejaculation.
However, masturbating releases hormones and chemicals such as:
Changes in these hormone levels can potentially have benefits such as:
- improving your mood
- relieving stress and anxiety
- promoting calmness
- helping you fall asleep
- For people with vaginas, masturbating may also help relieve menstrual cramps.
Ejaculation and prostate cancer risk
In a 2016 study, researchers found a negative association between ejaculation frequency and the risk of developing prostate cancer.
The researchers found that people who ejaculated more than 21 times per month were less likely to have developed prostate cancer at a 10-year follow up than people who ejaculated 4 to 7 times.
However, it’s worth noting that correlation doesn’t mean causation. More research is needed to fully explore the link between ejaculation frequency and prostate cancer risk.
Are there any potential side effects of masturbation?
Masturbation itself isn’t known to cause any health concerns. However, there are some potential physical and emotional side effects.
Many people experience guilt after masturbating, often because of their religious, cultural, or spiritual beliefs.
Masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity and there’s no need to feel ashamed for it. If you’re feeling guilty about masturbating, you may find it helpful to talk to somebody you trust or a therapist specializing in sexual health.
A masturbating addiction refers to the tendency to masturbate uncontrollably. There’s no clinical diagnosis for masturbation addiction, and there’s still debate whether it should be classified as an addiction or a compulsion.
Signs that you may have developed unhealthy masturbation habits include:
- masturbation interferes with your daily life
- you find it difficult to stop thinking about masturbating
- you masturbate even when you aren’t aroused
- you masturbate in public
- masturbating negatively impacts your relationships or social life
- you use masturbation to deal with negative emotions
- you cancel plans or events to masturbate
Some people can’t deal with masturbation addiction on their own, but many people also benefit from speaking with a sex therapist.
Physical side effects
For a person with a penis, it’s thought that masturbating with an excessively tight grip can desensitize your nerves and reduce feeling. This condition is nicknamed “death grip syndrome.”
Over time, this may make it hard to orgasm without replicating the same motion.
People with vaginas can also experience a similar condition where your nerves become desensitized from masturbating with excessive pressure.
If you’re experiencing desensitization, you may benefit from taking a break from masturbating for a few weeks or changing your technique to use less pressure.
Frequent masturbation can also lead to soreness or chafing. If this happens to you, you can try taking a break until the discomfort subsides. Using lubrication when masturbating may prevent the concern from returning.
What might cause pain in your kidneys after masturbation?
It’s very unlikely that masturbating will cause pain in your kidneys. If you’re experiencing pain in your lower back after masturbating, it’s very likely that the pain is caused by poor posture while masturbating.
You can relieve this pain with a heat pack and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Another possibility is that you’re coincidentally also dealing with kidney stones or another kidney issue and didn’t notice until after you masturbated.
If you don’t follow good hygiene practices when masturbating, it’s possible that you can develop a urinary tract infection (UTI). People with vaginas are much more likely than people with penises to get a UTI because they have a shorter urethra.
Symptoms of a UTI include:
- burning when urinating
- frequent urge to urinate
- abdominal pain
- foul-smelling urine
- cloudy urine
- blood in your urine
If left untreated, UTIs can spread to your kidneys. A kidney infection is a potentially serious condition that requires prompt medical treatment. Along with the symptoms of a bladder infection, it can cause:
- sharp pain in your lower back
If you’re dealing with any type of concerning pain after masturbating, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention as soon as possible for proper examination and treatment.
There’s no scientific evidence that masturbation is bad for your kidneys or causes any health concerns. Masturbation may even have some potential benefits like raising your mood or helping you sleep.
It’s up to you whether you decide to masturbate. You can do it if you like, or not doing it is OK too.
If you’re worried you may be masturbating too frequently, you may benefit from talking about your feelings with a sex therapist or somebody you trust.