Pain in the Penis: Possible Causes and Treatment Options

Any pain in the penis no matter how slight, is a cause for alarm especially if it obstructs free urination or occurs during an erection. Pain in the penis can occur in the head, base, shaft, or foreskin of the penis with associated throbbing, burning, or itching sensation. Penile pain can affect males of any age.

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Also, the degree of penile pain can vary depending on what underlying disorder is triggering it. It can be a result of an accident or disease. The pain may be severe and occur suddenly if you have an accident. However, in the case of an underlying disease, the pain may be mild and deteriorate gradually, or occurs along with redness, swelling, or discharge.

Possible Causes of Pain in the Penis


Balanitis mostly affects uncircumcised males and those who don’t practice thorough hygiene of washing the foreskin regularly. Though circumcised males can also be affected by the condition. Balanitis is an infection of the head and foreskin of the penis. It also can occur if you get a sexually transmitted infection (STI), a yeast infection, or a soap allergy.

READ ALSO: Penile Yeast Infection: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Peyronie’s Disease

In peyronie’s disease, an inflammation causes a thin sheet of scar tissue (plaque) to form along the upper or lower ridges of the shaft of the penis. Your penis may bend when erect because the plaque forms next to the tissue that becomes hard during an erection. Peyronie’s disease can occur if bleeding inside the penis begins after you bend or hit it. The disease can also be hereditary, it can occur in those with a connective tissue disorder, or an inflammation of your lymphatic system or blood vessels.


Priapism is a condition that causes painful and prolonged erection. This erection can happen even when you don’t want to have sex. Males affected by this condition should get immediate treatment to avoid permanent damage.

Priapism can be caused by:

  • Injury to the penis or spinal cord
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Side effects of drugs used to treat erection problems or depression
  • mental health disorders
  • Illegal drug use
  • Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia
  • alcohol use

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Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Penile pain can be caused by sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or genital herpes.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria attack and infect the urinary tract. The condition mostly affects women, but it can also happen in men. An infection might happen if you:

  • have a weakened immune system
  • have a problem in your urinary tract
  • have sex with an infected partner
  • have anal sex
  • have an enlarged prostate
  • are uncircumcised


An injury or trauma to the penis can cause severe damage. Injuries can happen if you:

  • get burned
  • are involved a car accident
  • have rough sex
  • put a ring around your penis to prolong an erection
  • insert objects into your urethra

Phimosis and Paraphimosis

Phimosis occurs when the foreskin of the penis gets too tight and it can’t be pulled away from the head of the penis. It usually occurs in uncircumcised males and children.

On the other hand, paraphimosis occurs if your foreskin pulls back from the head of the penis, but can’t return to its original position covering the penis. Paraphimosis can stop a man from passing out urine and as such requires prompt medical intervention. It may cause the death of the tissue in the penis.

READ ALSO: What Causes Pimple to Appear on the Penis?


Penile cancer can also cause pain. Certain factors that can increase your chances of getting cancer, include:

  • uncircumcision
  • smoking
  • having a human papillomavirus infection
  • not cleaning under your foreskin properly
  • being treated for psoriasis

Treatment Options for Pain in the Penis

Treatment varies depending on the condition or disease:

  • Draining the blood from the penis with a needle helps reduces an erection if you have priapism.
  • In severe cases, injections are administered to soften Peyronie’s disease plaques, and a surgeon can remove them.
  • Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat UTIs and some STIs. Antibiotics and antifungal medications can also treat balanitis.
  • Stretching the foreskin with your fingers may make it looser if you have phimosis. Steroid creams rubbed on your penis can also help. In some cases, surgery is necessary.
  • Cancerous parts of the penis can be removed by a surgeon. Radiation or chemotherapy can be used to treat penile cancer.
  • Icing the head of your penis reduces swelling in paraphimosis. Your doctor also may put pressure on the head of the penis or inject drugs into the penis to help it drain. Small cuts can be made in the foreskin of the penis to help decrease swelling.
  • Antiviral medications can help reduce or shorten herpes outbreaks.

Preventing Pain in the Penis

To reduce your chances of developing penile pain:

  • Avoid having unprotected sex
  • Avoid rough movements that bend your penis during intercourse.
  • Clean under your foreskin properly everyday
  • Consult your doctor immediately if you notice any slight pain in your penis.

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Disclaimer: The content provided on is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.


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