Penis pain

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Definition

Penis pain is any pain or discomfort in the penis.

Alternative Names

Pain - penis

Causes

Causes may include:

Home Care

How you treat penis pain at home depends on its cause. Talk to your health care provider about treatment. Ice packs may help ease the pain.

If penis pain is caused by a sexually transmitted disease, it is important for your sexual partner to also be treated.

An erection that does not go away (priapism) is a medical emergency. Get to the hospital emergency room right away. Ask your provider about getting treatment for the condition causing priapism.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you notice any of the following:

  • An erection that does not go away (priapism). Seek immediate medical attention.
  • Pain that lasts for more than 4 hours
  • Pain with other unexplained symptoms

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your provider will do a physical examination and take a medical history, which may include the following questions:

  • When did the pain start? Is pain always present?
  • Is it a painful erection (priapism)?
  • Do you feel pain when the penis is not erect?
  • Is the pain in all of the penis or just one part of it?
  • Have you had any open sores?
  • Has there been any injury to the area?
  • Are you at risk for exposure to any sexually transmitted diseases?
  • What other symptoms do you have?

The physical exam will most likely include a detailed exam of the penis, testicles, scrotum, and groin.

The pain can be treated once its cause has been found. Treatments depend on the cause:

  • Infection, antibiotics, antiviral medications, or other medications (in rare cases, circumcision is advised for long-term infection under the foreskin).
  • Priapism, the erection needs to diminish, a urinary catheter is inserted to relieve urinary retention, and medicines or surgery may be needed.

References

Broderick GA. Priapism. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 25.

Frenkl T, Potts J. Sexually transmitted diseases In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 13.

Jordan GH, McCammon KA. Peyronie's disease. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 28.

Pettaway CA, Lance RS, Davis JW. Tumors of the penis. In:Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 34.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 1/21/2015
  • Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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