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Penile Pain: Causes, Symptoms And How To Treat It

Penis health is an important part of men's health and it goes beyond the ability to erect, ejaculate and reproduce. There are many health problems associated with penis and these can have an impact on your life causing relationship problems, stress or low self-confidence.

One such problem associated with penis health is penile pain, which affects the base, shaft, foreskin or head of the penis. It can be as a result of an accident or an underlying condition [1] and it affects men of all ages.

What Causes Penile Pain

Peyronie's disease - It happens due to an inflammation that causes scar tissue leading to the build-up of plaque on the top or bottom of the penis. Though the exact cause is still unclear, doctors believe that an inflammation of the lymphatic system, a connective tissue disorder, or repeated injury to the penis can result in Peyronie's disease[2] .

Balanitis - It is an infection which occurs in the foreskin and the head of the penis. It happens when men and boys don't wash the foreskin of the penis properly [3] .

Priapism- It is a serious medical condition which causes a painful, prolonged erection without any sexual stimulation. In some cases, the cause of priapism is unknown, however, it can be a result of other conditions like trauma to the genitals or spinal cord, pelvic health conditions, or sickle cell disease [4] .

Urinary tract infections (UTI)- It occurs when bacteria enter and infect the urinary tract, causing urinary tract infection. This can happen when you have anal sex, have an enlarged prostate, have an uncircumcised penis, or have a weakened immune system [5] .

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis may also cause penile pain [6] .

Penile cancer - Penile pain can also be caused due to penile cancer. The factors that increase the chances of getting penile cancer are your penis not being circumcised, having HPV, and not cleaning under your foreskin if you are uncircumcised[7] .

Penile fracture - It happens when an erected penis is bent, which is most likely to occur during sex. The symptoms include popping sound, sudden loss of erection, bleeding from the penis, blood in the urine, etc [8] .

Prostatitis - It is an inflammation of the prostate either caused by bacterial infections, or nerve inflammation and injuries, causing pain in the penis and pelvic area [9] .

Injuries - Certain injuries can hurt and damage your penis, these include motor vehicle accidents, rough sex, putting a ring around your penis to prolong an erection, etc [10] .

Symptoms Of Penile Pain

  • Swelling at the tip or foreskin of the penis [11]
  • Itching
  • Redness or irritation on the shaft
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Burning while you urinate
  • Bloody urine
  • Blisters on your shaft
  • Colour changes in your penis
  • Aching or throbbing pain in the middle of the penis shaft

When To See A Doctor

You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience swollen penis tissues, pain during ejaculation, penis lumps, discoloured semen, blood in urine or semen, rashes or cuts on the penis, abnormal penis discharge, feeling of exhaustion, or loss of desire in sex.

Treatment Of Penile Pain

The treatment options vary depending on the condition or disease-causing penile pain[12] :

  • Antibiotics and antifungal medications are prescribed to treat UTIs and STIs that result from balanitis.
  • If you have Peyronie's disease, penile prosthesis or penile implant is used. It is a medical device implanted within the corpora cavernosa of the penis to treat a bent penis.
  • To reduce herpes outbreaks, antiviral medications are prescribed.
  • Surgery is done to remove scar tissues from the penis or to stitch up tears in penile tissues.
  • Radiation treatment or chemotherapy is used for treating penile cancer.
  • For relieving pain and inflammation, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
View Article References
  1. [1] Dickstein, R., Uberoi, J., & Munarriz, R. (2010). Severe, disabling, and/or chronic penile pain associated with Peyronie disease: management with subcutaneous steroid injection.Journal of andrology,31(5), 445-449.
  2. [2] Jalkut, M., Gonzalez-Cadavid, N., & Rajfer, J. (2003). Peyronie's Disease: A Review.Reviews in urology,5(3), 142–148.
  3. [3] Morris, B. J., & Krieger, J. N. (2017). Penile Inflammatory Skin Disorders and the Preventive Role of Circumcision.International journal of preventive medicine,8, 32.
  4. [4] Muneer, A., Alnajjar, H. M., & Ralph, D. (2018). Recent advances in the management of priapism.F1000Research,7, 37.
  5. [5] Parsons C. L. (2002). Interstitial cystitis and lower urinary tract symptoms in males and females-the combined role of potassium and epithelial dysfunction.Reviews in urology,4 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S49–S55.
  6. [6] Assi, R., Hashim, P. W., Reddy, V. B., Einarsdottir, H., & Longo, W. E. (2014). Sexually transmitted infections of the anus and rectum.World journal of gastroenterology,20(41), 15262–15268.
  7. [7] Lau, W. D., Ong, C. H., Lim, T. P., & Teo, C. (2015). Penile cancer: a local case series and literature review.Singapore medical journal,56(11), 637–640.
  8. [8] Jack, G. S., Garraway, I., Reznichek, R., & Rajfer, J. (2004). Current treatment options for penile fractures.Reviews in urology,6(3), 114–120.
  9. [9] Curran N. (2008). Chronic Urogenital Pain in Men.Reviews in pain,2(2), 25–28.
  10. [10] Krishna Reddy, S. V., Shaik, A. B., & Sreenivas, K. (2014). Penile injuries: A 10-year experience.Canadian Urological Association journal = Journal de l'Association des urologues du Canada,8(9-10), E626–E631.
  11. [11] Krieger, J. N., Ross, S. O., Penson, D. F., & Riley, D. E. (2002). Symptoms and inflammation in chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome.Urology,60(6), 959-963.
  12. [12] Kennebrew, G. J., Daggett, B., & Ritz, R. B. (2018). Traumatic Penile Pain: A Case of Dorsal Vein Thrombophlebitis after Intercourse.Case reports in emergency medicine,2018.
Story first published: Monday, December 23, 2019, 17:30 [IST]
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