Many conditions can cause penis pain, and it can range from mild to severe. Pain may occur at rest, during sexual activity, or when urinating.
While a person can sometimes get relief from penis pain at home, some underlying causes may need medical treatment.
This article looks at the possible causes of penis pain, as well as the additional symptoms and treatment options for each.
Causes of penis pain include;
Various conditions may cause penis pain.
Peyronie’s disease occurs when scar tissue creates plaque that builds up on the top or bottom of the penis.
The cause of Peyronie’s disease is still unclear, but doctors believe it to be a result of scarring to the penis. Scarring may be due to an autoimmune disease or a severe or repeated injury to the penis.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include:
- erectile dysfunction or pain during an erection
- pain during sex
- a curve in the penis
- lumps on the side of the penis
- the penis becoming narrower or shorter than usual
A person should see a doctor if they notice any of these symptoms. Peyronie’s disease can sometimes go away without treatment. Other people with Peyronie’s disease may require:
- oral medication
- medication injected into the plaque
- ultrasound or radiation therapy to break up the scar tissue and reduce plaque
- shockwave therapy, which uses electroshock waves to break up the scar tissue and reduce plaque
If symptoms are severe and do not improve, a person may require surgery.
Balanitis refers to when the head of the penis becomes inflamed. This inflammation can happen in people who have not had circumcision, especially if they do not wash or dry the area underneath the foreskin properly.
Other causes of balanitis can include:
- using strong soap or chemicals on the penis
Symptoms of balanitis include:
- a rash
- tenderness or pain
If a person does not seek treatment for balanitis, it can cause phimosis, wherein the foreskin becomes too tight to pull back from the head of the penis.
Treatment options for balanitis include:
- topical antibiotic, antifungal, or antiseptic ointment
- topical steroids
- a topical astringent solution
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
An STI can cause penile pain. STIs that cause pain include:
- genital herpes
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is more common in women, but it can also happen in men. A UTI occurs when bacteria invade and infect your urinary tract. An infection might happen if you:
- are uncircumcised
- have a weakened immune system
- have a problem or blockage in your urinary tract
- have sex with someone who has an infection
- have anal sex
- have an enlarged prostate
Like any other part of your body, an injury can damage your penis. Injuries can happen if you:
- are in a car accident
- get burned
- have rough sex
- put a ring around your penis to prolong an erection
- insert objects into your urethra
Phimosis and paraphimosis
Phimosis occurs in uncircumcised males when the foreskin of the penis is too tight. It can’t be pulled away from the head of the penis. It usually happens in children, but it can also occur in older males if balanitis or an injury causes scarring in the foreskin.
A related condition called paraphimosis happens if your foreskin pulls back from the head of the penis, but then can’t return to its original position covering the penis.
Paraphimosis is a medical emergency because it can stop you from urinating and may cause the tissue in your penis to die.
Penile cancer is another cause of penile pain, although it’s uncommon. Certain factors increase your chances of getting cancer, including:
- not being circumcised
- having a human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
- not cleaning under your foreskin if you’re uncircumcised
- being treated for psoriasis
According to the experts, most cases of penile cancer occur in men ages 50 or older.
Treatment options for pain in the penis
Treatment varies depending on the condition or disease:
- Injections soften Peyronie’s disease plaques. A surgeon can remove them in severe cases.
- Draining the blood from the penis with a needle helps reduce an erection if you have priapism. Medication may also lower the amount of blood flowing to the penis.
- Antibiotics treat UTIs and some STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Antibiotics and antifungal medications can also treat balanitis.
- Antiviral medications can help reduce or shorten herpes outbreaks.
- Stretching the foreskin with your fingers may make it looser if you have phimosis. Steroid creams rubbed on your penis can also help. In some cases, surgery is necessary.
- Icing the head of your penis reduces swelling in paraphimosis. Your doctor may suggest putting pressure on the head of the penis. They can also inject medications into the penis to help it drain. In addition, they can make small cuts in the foreskin to decrease swelling.
- A surgeon can remove cancerous parts of the penis. Treatment for penile cancer may also include radiation treatment or chemotherapy.
Preventing pain in the penis
You can take some steps to reduce your chances of developing pain, such as using condoms when you have sex, avoiding sex with anyone who has any kind of active infection, and asking sexual partners to avoid rough movements that bend your penis.
If you’re having repeated infections or other problems with your foreskin, having a circumcision or cleaning under your foreskin every day can help.