Penis pain is something men don’t usually worry about until it happens. When a man’s penis becomes painful, he may feel varying degrees of concern to outright panic, depending on the severity and cause of the pain.
Sometimes the cause of penis pain is obvious. Sports injuries, such as getting hit by a baseball or hockey puck in the groin, are one example. Penile pain that develops gradually over time, however, may be more difficult to identify.
Symptoms of Penis Pain
Symptoms of penis pain can vary depending on where the pain occurs in the penis:
- internally in the part of the penis that connects to the abdominal wall (the root)
- in the main external body of the penis (shaft)
- In the glans penis (head)
- In the tube that runs through the penis and carries semen and urine (urethra)
Symptoms of pain in the penis may develop slowly over time or occur spontaneously. The pain may be sharp, dull, or throbbing. It may last for hours or days, or for only a few moments. Sometimes penile pain can disrupt a man’s normal activities, such as sexual intercourse, urination, or exercise. For other men it may cause only mild discomfort.
If you experience penis pain along with any of the following situations or symptoms, seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible:
- An erection that lasts for four hours or longer. This is a condition known as priapism and is considered a medical emergency.
- You hear a popping or cracking sound during an erection or sexual intercourse
- You cannot urinate
- An accident or sports injury has injured your penis, testicles, or groin area
Other symptoms may accompany penis pain. You should consult your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms along with a painful penis:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Blood in the semen
- Discolored or bruised penis
- Discharge from the urethra
- Inflammation of the penis
- Problems with urination, such as urinary frequency, dribbling, difficulty starting urination, painful urination, or burning sensation when urinating
- Pain in the bladder, prostate, testicles, or abdomen
- Premature ejaculation
- Rash on the penis
- Lesions or sores on the penis
- Itchy penis
- Lumps or hard bumps on the penis or in the groin area
- Swelling of the penis or surrounding area
- Accumulation of a thick secretion under the foreskin
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What Causes Penis Pain?
Two commonly recognized causes of penis pain are a sports injury to the penis and the so-called four-hour erection. However, there is a wide range of other causes of a painful penis that deserve attention.
- Urinary tract infection
- Balantis (infection under the foreskin)
- Infected penile implant
- Sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis)
- Riding a bicycle, all-terrain vehicle, horse, or motorcycle
- Penis cancer
- Allergic reaction to detergents, soaps, or spermicides
- Bladder stones
- Bites (insect or human)
- Fractured penis
- Pelvic pain (this can help)
- Acne on the penis
- Poor hygiene
- Bent or curved penis (Peyronie’s disease)
- Extremely tight or swollen foreskin. These are conditions in which the foreskin has been retracted and cannot return to its normal position.
- Injury caused by rough or difficult removal of a urinary catheter
- Inflammation of the urethra (urethritis)
- Arthritis of the urethra (Reiter syndrome)
- Sickle cell anemia
Penis pain can be a serious medical matter. If the cause of the pain is not identified and treated, a man may experience significant consequences. These may include gangrene, serious infection, urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, and spread of cancer. If you are experiencing penis pain, see your doctor as soon as possible.