Penile pain can affect the base, shaft, or head of the penis. It can also affect the foreskin. An itching, burning, or throbbing sensation may accompany the pain. Penile pain can be a result of an accident or disease, and it can affect males of any age.
The pain can vary depending on what underlying condition or disease is causing it. If you have an injury, the pain may be severe and occur suddenly. If you have a disease or condition, the pain may be mild and may gradually get worse.
Any type of pain in the penis is a cause for concern, particularly if it occurs during an erection, prevents urination, or occurs along with discharge, sores, redness, or swelling.
Possible Causes of Pain in the Penis
Peyronie’s disease starts when an inflammation causes a thin sheet of scar tissue, called plaque, to form along the upper or lower ridges of the shaft of the penis. Because the scar tissue forms next to the tissue that becomes hard during an erection, you may notice that your penis bends when it’s erect. The disease can happen if bleeding inside the penis starts after you bend or hit it, if you have a connective tissue disorder, or if you have an inflammation of your lymphatic system or blood vessels. The disease can run in some families or may happen for an unknown reason.
Priapism causes a painful, prolonged erection. This erection can happen even when you don’t want to have sex.
If this occurs, you should get treatment as soon as possible or permanent damage could occur. This damage might stop you from having erections in the future.
Balanitis is an infection of the foreskin and the head of the penis. It usually affects men and boys who don’t wash under the foreskin regularly or who haven’t been circumcised, although those who have been circumcised can also get it. It also can happen if you have a yeast infection, a sexually transmitted infection (STI), or an allergy to soaps, perfumes, or other products.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Infection with an STI can cause penile pain. STIs that cause pain include:
Like any other part of your body, an injury can damage your penis. Injuries can happen if you:
put a ring around your penis to prolong an erection
insert objects into your urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of your penis
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.