Read below about penis pain, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your penis pain from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Penis Pain Symptoms

The penis is a durable organ, yet it remains as vulnerable to infection and injury as any other part of your body – and sometimes more so. Most men do experience some sort of pain or injury concerning the penis at some point in their lives. Your doctor has likely seen all sorts of incidents and illnesses involving penis pain and will consider your case to be a matter of routine. [13]

Characteristics:

  • Pain that is sharp, dull, throbbing, or burning. [3]
  • Pain that is located:

    • At the root of your penis. [3]
    • Just beneath the skin of the shaft, or main body, of your penis. [3]
    • Inside your urethra, which runs through the shaft. [12]
    • Within the head of your penis. [8]
  • You may also have pain in your lower abdomen or testicles. [10]
  • You may hear, or feel, a cracking or popping within the shaft of your penis during an erection. [3]
  • You may find it difficult or impossible to urinate. [12]
  • An erection may last three to four hours or more. Conversely, you may experience erectile dysfunction along with the pain. [12]
  • Blood appearing in your semen, or at the tip of your penis. [3]
  • Visible bruising along the shaft. [3]
  • Rash or sores anywhere on your penis. [8]
  • The buildup of a thick layer of irritating secretions under your foreskin, in uncircumcised men. [8]

Duration:

  • The pain may be due to an acute injury, such as an automobile accident or hit while playing a sport. [3]
  • It may be a chronic pain that starts gradually but never goes away. [10]

Who is most often affected by penis pain symptoms?

  • Sexually active men, especially those with multiple partners. [4]
  • Men using erectile dysfunction medication and taking more than the recommended dose. [14]
  • Uncircumcised men. [8]

When are penis pain symptoms most likely to occur?

  • During sexual activity. [3]
  • During urination. [1]
  • During exercise, even with mild activities such as walking. [12]

Are penis pain symptoms serious?

  • A mild irritation, either internal or external, can most often be easily treated and is not serious. [15]
  • Any symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease should be treated by your medical provider as soon as possible. [1]
  • Any severe injury to your groin, or an erection that does not subside within three to four hours, can cause long-term damage if not treated immediately. [3,14]

Penis Pain Causes Overview

Many conditions can have penis pain as a symptom. The most common are those involving sexually transmitted diseases or urinary tract infections,as well as allergies and injuries. [1,2,3]

The most common penis pain cause types:

  • Viruses that cause sexually transmitted diseases. [4]
  • Bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases. [4]
  • Bacteria that cause bladder infections, urinary tract infections, or urethritis (inflammation of the urethra.) [2,5]

Less common penis pain cause types:

  • Bladder stones, which may break up and cause pain as they pass through the urethra. [6]
  • Scar tissue within the shaft of your penis, which is caused by repeated injury and/or infection. The scar tissue causes a curved and painful erection. [3,7]
  • Allergic reaction to soaps or detergents, or to plants you may have touched, such as poison ivy. [1,8]
  • Skin conditions that have spread to your genitals and are either infectious or caused by an autoimmune condition. [4,9]
  • In uncircumcised men, bacteria combined with poor hygiene can cause infection and inflammation of the head of your penis beneath the foreskin. It's also possible for your foreskin to become swollen and tight, with or without an infection. [8]
  • Prostatitis, which is swelling and inflammation of your prostate gland. [10]
  • Sickle cell anemia can cause priapism, which is the medical name for painfully prolonged erections. [11]

Rare & unusual penis pain cause types:

  • Insect bites, such as from mosquitoes, ticks, or spiders. [12]
  • Human bites during sexual activity. [12]
  • Injury from difficult insertion or removal of a urinary catheter. [13]
  • Injury from a car crash or work accident; from being struck by an object, such as a baseball; or from riding a horse, bicycle, or motorcycle. [12]
  • Priapism is the term for an erection that continues for hours and actually becomes painful and damaging. It can lead to gangrene because the blood is trapped within your penis, loses oxygen, and can no longer nourish your tissues. [12]
  • Penile fracture can occur during aggressive or mis-coordinated sexual activity and is usually caused by a partner accidentally falling or dropping onto the erect penis. The erectile tissue beneath the skin can rupture, causing damage, pain, and severe bruising. [3]

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Penis Pain

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced penis pain. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Urethritis

    Urethritis is an inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine away from the bladder.

    Within a day or two of antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually resolve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    painful urination, penis pain, fluid leaking, pink/blood-tinged urine, cloudy urine
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Lichen Sclerosus

    Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause. It's most commonly on the genital region and occurring in women who are post menopausal.

    Can be lifelong; however, symptoms will come-and-go with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vaginal pain, painful sex, dry skin on the outside of the vagina, painful urination
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Chronic Prostatitis

    Prostatitis is swelling and irritation of the prostate gland. The prostate gland sits under the bladder, near the rectum, and produces the fluid that carries sperm.

    1/3 of men say symptoms go away by themselves after 1 year. With treatment, course is dependent on underlying cause.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    urinary changes, painful urination, testicle pain, frequent urination, penis pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Penis Pain Checker

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  4. 4.Acute Prostatitis

    Acute prostatitis is quickly developing swelling and irritation of the prostate gland. The prostate gland sits under the bladder, near the rectum (end of the large intestine), and it makes the fluid that carries sperm.

    2 week treatment, may be 4-6 weeks depending on severity of infection.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    penis pain, fever, urinary changes, painful urination, chills
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Penis Fracture

    A penile fracture, also known as broken penis, occurs when there is traumatic injury to the penis.

    Recovery is dependent on severity of injury as well as type of treatment

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    penis pain, penis injury, swollen penis, penis bruise
    Symptoms that always occur with penis fracture:
    penis pain, penis injury
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.Urinary Tract Infection

    In women, the opening to the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) is very close to the anus, and bacteria from the anus can easily escape and travel up the urethra. These bacteria can infect the bladder, and cause what is known as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

    Symptoms most often go away within 24 to 48 hours after treatment begins.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pelvis pain, sudden urgency to urinate, signs of urinary tract inflammation, urinary changes
    Symptoms that always occur with urinary tract infection:
    signs of urinary tract inflammation
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  7. 7.Penile Irritation

    Irritation of the penis is common, and can come from a number of benign causes. Common causes include cleaning with a new kind of soap, cleaning too much, or chaffing.

    Symptoms should resolve within one week.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    penis itch, penile redness
    Symptoms that never occur with penile irritation:
    fever, painful urination, testicle pain
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

Penis Pain Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate penis pain treatment in the emergency room if you have:

  • A painful erection that lasts for three to four hours. [14]
  • Extreme difficulty urinating. [2]
  • Received a hard hit to your groin from an accident or sports injury. [2]
  • A fracture of your penis. [2]

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Any sort of penile pain or irritation that last for more than a few hours, especially if there are other symptoms of illness with it. [1]

Penis pain remedies that you can try at home:

  • For minor injury or irritation, ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers can be helpful to reduce penis pain symptoms. [12]

FAQs About Penis Pain

Here are some frequently asked questions about penis pain.

Why does my penis hurt while passing urine?

The most common cause of pain during urination is inflammation of the urinary tract (UTI). Men can also get inflammation of the urethra through sexually transmitted diseases (STD or sexually transmitted infection, STI) or an inflamed prostate, which occurs more frequently in older men. Other causes of painful urination influence bladder stones, certain cancer drugs, and kidney procedures. [1,2,5,12]

Why does my penis hurt when I have an erection?

There are multiple potential causes of painful erections. One such cause is called Peyronie's disease, in which a scar forms along the inside of the penis that is painful to stretch and hurts when the penis is erect. Additionally, priapism, or a long-standing erection (greater than 4 hours), can also cause pain and can be caused by medications — especially penile injections. It can also be caused by sickle cell disease. [9,11]

Which STDs cause penis pain?

Most STDs (sexually transmitted diseases or STIs, sexually transmitted infections) can cause painful genitals. Most commonly gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes can cause painful genitals, but if you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted disease, it is very important that you seek treatment as soon as possible. These infections do not commonly resolve on their own and place your sexual partners at risk. [1]

Why is the tip of my penis itchy?

The tip of your penis may be itchy if you have a foreskin and there is a mild non-sexually transmitted infection causing inflammation in that area. It can be common if there is a lapse of hygiene or an increase of secretions to cause growth of bacteria or fungi, which may cause itching. If you are experiencing profuse genital itching, please contact your physician and seek evaluation. [8]

Why does it burn when I pee?

Pain on urination can be the product of inflammation of the urethra, which itself most commonly comes from sexually transmitted infections (STI)or urinary tract infections (UTI). Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are some of the most common sexually transmitted infections, along with herpes, and can cause genital pain. You should seek immediate evaluation and medical care if you suspect that you have a sexually transmitted infection. [1,2]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Penis Pain

  • Q.Are you sexually active?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Q.Do you notice anything going on with your penis?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our penis pain symptom checker to find out more.

Penis Pain Quiz

Penis Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced penis pain have also experienced:

    • 8% Painful Urination
    • 5% Penis Pain
    • 5% Penile Skin Changes
  • People who have experienced penis pain had symptoms persist for:

    • 54% Less Than a Day
    • 20% Less Than a Week
    • 12% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced penis pain were most often matched with:

    • 40% Urethritis
    • 30% Lichen Sclerosus
    • 30% Chronic Prostatitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having penis pain

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References

  1. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Young Men's Health. Young Men's Health Link. Updated June 14, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  2. Dysuria (Painful Urination). Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic Link. Reviewed October 27, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  3. What is Penile Trauma? Urology Care Foundation. Urology Care Link. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  4. Common Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Family Doctor. Family Doctor Link. Updated February 8, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  5. Bladder Infection, Male (Adult). Mount Nittany Health. Mount Nittany Link. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  6. Overview: Bladder stones. NHS. NHS Link. Reviewed August 3, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  7. Scar Tissue Can Lead to Painful Erections. UNC Health Talk. UNC Health Talk Link. Published May 14, 2018.
  8. Balanitis Faqs. Men's Health Forum. Men's Health Forum Link. Published July 4, 2014. Reviewed July 4, 2014. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  9. Peyronie's Disease. UW Health. UW Health Link. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  10. Prostatitis. Prostate Cancer UK. Prostate Cancer UK Link. Updated April 2016.
  11. Crane GM, Bennett NE. Priapism in Sickle Cell Anemia: Emerging Mechanistic Understanding and Better Preventative Strategies. Anemia. 2011;2011:297364. Anemia Link. Published November 30, 2010. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  12. Sobol J, Zieve D, Conaway B. Penis pain. University of Florida Health. UF Health Link. Published January 30, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  13. Renninson T, Smith L, Burkes M. Tips for GP trainees working in urology. The British Journal of General Practice. 2013;63(609):221-222. Br J Gen Pract Link. Published April 2013. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  14. Sustained Erection. NHS Lanarkshire Sexual Health. NHS Link. Accessed October 4, 2018.
  15. Dry skin on penis. STD.gov. STD.gov Link. Published April 6, 2017. Accessed October 4, 2018.