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Penis pain

Penis pain is any pain or discomfort in the penis .

Alternative Names

Pain - penis; Priapism

Common Causes

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 immediately. Ask your health care provider about getting treatment for the condition causing priapism.

Call your health care provider if

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 health care provider's office

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

  • When did the pain start?
  • Is it 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 any sexually transmitted disease?
  • Have you been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease?
  • What other symptoms do you have?

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

The pain can be treated once its cause has been found. Treatments may include:

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

References

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

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

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

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

Updated: 10/9/2012

Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


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