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Penile pain

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Since I started this website, way back in 1999 or 2000, I've had several emails on the subject of penile pain.

Since the penis is such an important organ for men, any problem with it usually seems extremely urgent and serious - and indeed, it often is, for leaving penile injuries or pain unattended can produce much more damaging consequences. The unfortunate thing is that many men are too shy to to go to their doctor, even if they know they should.

So to try and give you some indication of what may be wrong, here's a checklist of penile pain.

By the way, a constant erection that won't go away is called priapism, and it can be very painful. It's also extremely serious, as the circulatory problems that lead to priapism can damage the penis badly. If you have an erection that lasts more than two hours, and shows no sign of abating, you need to attend the emergency room - no matter how embarrassing it may be!

Other causes of penile pain include:

1 Injury or fracture during sex, or during sleep. A penis doesn't fracture in the sense that a bone does, but the tissues lining the erectile chambers can be stretched and snap with a loud crack. This injury is extremely painful, and it most often occurs when a couple are enjoying vigorous sex and the man misses the woman's vagina, so landing his penis a blunt blow into her perineum or some other part of her anatomy.

There's also a less dramatic form of penile fracture, where the erectile chambers are injured and leak, rather than fracturing dramatically. Both these injuries can lead to scar tissue formation, distortion of the shaft on erection, and Peyronie's disease.

2 Any excessive manual play with the penis can lead to penis pain. This includes any bruising or injury inflicted during sex or masturbation.

3 I am amused to report that the pain from insect bites can be just as troublesome on the penis as it is on any other part of the body. It just looks more peculiar. I was severely bitten on the glans by a mosquito when giving my partner oral sex in Greece one summer. I can now tell you that this leads to a bigger penis - though only for a matter of hours.

4 And of course, human teeth can inflict a bite on the penis if a careless partner doesn't pay enough attention during fellatio.

5 Although I have never had herpes, I'm told by some less fortunate friends that the herpes lesions are preceded for several days by itching, burning and soreness at the site of the infection.

6 Prostatitis can produce pain in the penis and testicles.

7 Non specific urethritis and other urinary tract infections (such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea) can produce a burning sensation in the penis....

8 ....as can the entry of soap, cosmetics, shampoo and other such products, into your urethra. Hint: don't use these things for masturbation. If you have an enlarged urethral opening because you have hypospadias, you may want to be extra careful about such matters.

9 If you get an infection under your foreskin, generally known as balanitis, your penis will feel sore and itchy.

10 Reiter's syndrome is a less well known cause of penile pain.

11 Peyronie's disease, a fairly common disorder of the penis, which causes it to bend in an unpredictable direction, can be associated with pain in the internal chambers of the penis. This almost always results from injury sustained during sex or masturbation, though the man concerned may have no recollection of any injury. (On the other hand, he may recall it very vividly, since such injury is often associated with short-lived but intense pain.)

12 An unusual but significant cause of pain can be trapped nerves in the back. There's a case reported on the-penis.com of a man who searched long and hard for a cure for his penile pain, and only solved it when he eventually saw a chiropractor, who straightened out his spine.

13 Conditions so rare that they are worthy of nothing more than a brief mention:
Cancer of the penis
Infected penile prosthesis

Sickle cell anemia

Other pages on the penis and sex

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