Penis pain is any pain or discomfort in the penis.
Causes may include:
- Bladder stone
- Bites, either human or insect
- Cancer of the penis
- Erection that does not go away (priapism)
- Genital herpes
- Infected hair follicles
- Infected prosthesis of the penis
- Infection under the foreskin of uncircumcised men (balanitis)
- Inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis)
- Peyronie disease
- Reiter syndrome
- Sickle cell anemia
- Urethritis caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea
- Bladder infection
- Blood clot in a vein in the penis
- Penile fracture
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. Do not apply ice directly to the penis. Instead, place the ice in a towel or washcloth and apply the wrapped ice to treat 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 right away. Ask your provider about getting treatment for the condition causing priapism. You may need medicines or possibly a procedure or surgery to correct the problem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your 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 Office Visit
Your provider will do a physical exam and take a medical history, which may include the following questions:
- When did the pain start? Is pain always present?
- Is it a painful erection that won't go away (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 exposure to any sexually transmitted diseases?
- What other symptoms do you have?
The physical exam will include a detailed exam of the penis, testicles, scrotum, and groin.
The pain can be treated once its cause has been found. Treatments depend on the cause:
- Infection: Antibiotics, antiviral medicine, or other medicines (in rare cases, circumcision is advised for long-term infection under the foreskin).
- Priapism: The erection needs to diminish. A urinary catheter is inserted to relieve urinary retention, and medicines or surgery may be needed.
Pain - penis
Broderick GA. Priapism. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 70.
Pontari M. Inflammatory and pain conditions of the male genitourinary tract: prostatitis and related pain conditions, orchitis, and epididymitis. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 56.
Seftel AD, Yang H. Diagnosis and management of Peyronie’s disease. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 73.
Review Date 1/1/2023
Updated by: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.