Whenever you feel pain in your penis, it’s always a cause for concern, especially if it’s accompanied by a burning or itching sensation. More so if the pain causes painful erections or urination.
You may experience pain along the shaft of your penis, near the base, or it can affect the head of your sex organ. Here are the seven most common causes of penile pain.
#1 Urinary Tract Infections
Whenever men experience pain in the penis, especially if it’s accompanied by painful urination, a sexually transmitted infection is always the number one suspected cause. However, this is not always the case.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), although more prevalent in women, can also affect men. You may get a UTI if your urinary tract gets infected by bacteria. This may happen if there’s something blocking your urinary tract.
Blockages in your urinary tract can trap the bacteria in your urine such that they don’t get flushed out when you urinate. The bacteria can then travel from your urethra to your bladder, or they can accumulate in that blocked area, causing a full-blown infection.
Men who have a weakened immune system, an enlarged prostate, or are uncircumcised are more prone to developing urinary tract infections. A UTI may also happen if you engage in unprotected sex with someone who also has a urinary tract infection.
#2 Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There are many instances wherein a sexually transmitted disease will show no symptoms at all. However, when you experience pain in your penis and it’s accompanied by swelling of the scrotum, an itching or burning sensation, painful urination, and penile discharge, the chances are high that you are infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
Chlamydia will often cause penile pain and painful urination, along with swelling of the testicles and discharge. In some instances, a chlamydia infection will also cause bleeding and rectal pain.
In most cases, gonorrhea in men won’t display any symptoms at all. However, if symptoms will show, it will usually show as painful urination, colored penile discharge, painful testicles, rashes, and painful joints.
#3 Peyronie’s Disease
Inside the shaft of your penis, you’ll find an elastic membrane called the tunica albuginea. This is located just under your penile skin, and it encloses your corpora cavernosa, the part of the penis that becomes filled with blood during erections.
When scar tissue, also called fibrous plaques, form inside your tunica albuginea, the condition is called Peyronie’s disease. Since the fibrous plaques form just right next to your erectile tissues, it can affect your erection.
Peyronie’s disease can make your penis curve when it’s erect. If the curvature is just slight, you might not feel any discomfort or pain. However, if the curvature is quite significant, it can lead to painful erections and can make sex very uncomfortable.
Peyronie’s disease may be caused by injuries to the penis or bleeding inside the penis that eventually causes scarring. It may also start with an inflammation in your penile tissues, or if you are suffering from a connective tissue disorder.
Priapism refers to a condition wherein you experience a prolonged and painful erection, which is often involuntary or unrelated to any sexual stimulation. It’s often considered a urological emergency since if it’s left untreated, it could lead to permanent tissue damage.
When you’re aroused, blood flows to your penis and this causes your sex organ to become rigid and erect. When you ejaculate or when there’s no more sexual stimulation, the blood is normally drained through the penile arteries, which then causes your penis to become flaccid.
When priapism occurs, the blood is trapped in the corpora cavernosa in your penis and it can’t flow out of your sex organ. This then causes the prolonged erection. Other symptoms of priapism include pain in the penis that worsens with time and erections wherein the head of the penis remains soft. These two symptoms are common in ischemic priapism.
When the head of your penis and the foreskin get infected, it can cause balanitis. This condition is common in boys and men who are not circumcised, although it may also happen to circumcised men. For those who are uncircumcised, the area under the foreskin often traps moisture, making it a great habitat for yeast and bacteria.
If the area under the foreskin is not cleaned properly, bacteria build-up can cause an infection. There are also times when balanitis is caused by allergies to soap and other topical products that are applied to the penis. Sexually transmitted diseases may also cause balanitis.
#6 Penile Cancer
Penile cancer is quite rare, however, when it does happen, the first signs you’ll notice would be changes on the skin of your penis. Although penile cancer can affect the glans or the shaft of the penis, in most instances, it starts with the skin of the penis.
Some of the early signs of penile cancer include changes in the color of your penile skin. You may also notice an area of your penile skin becoming thicker. Lumps, bleeding ulcers, crusty bumps, and velvety rashes on the skin of your penis are also common symptoms. You may also experience bleeding under your foreskin, or you may notice a smelly penile discharge.
#7 Phimosis and Paraphimosis
In men who are not circumcised, phimosis may happen when your foreskin becomes too tight such that it can no longer be pulled away from your penis glans. This may be caused by balanitis or an infection of the foreskin. If you experience any injury that caused scarring in your foreskin, it can also lead to phimosis.
If phimosis does not cause any discomfort, or if it doesn’t cause any other symptoms, it won’t be considered as a medical emergency. However, if it interferes with normal urination, medical assistance should be sought right away.
Paraphimosis, on the other hand, is a condition wherein your foreskin is unable to return to its original position after being pulled back from the head of your penis. Paraphimosis can cause your penis glans to become painful and inflamed.
Unlike phimosis which can be left alone if it doesn’t cause discomfort, paraphimosis needs to be treated immediately. Paraphimosis can actually cause restricted blood flow to the penis, which can eventually lead to the death of penile tissues.