Pain in the Penis, Five Common Causes
Penis pain is a fact of life, but it does not have to become a major issue. In most cases, pain in the penis is nothing to worry about and should resolve within a few days. Keeping the penis healthy with a few simple additions to the daily routine and knowing the signs to watch for when penis pain does occur is the key to a long and healthy sex life.
Five Causes of Penis Pain
The conditions described here are some of the most common causes of penis pain and soreness. Any type of penis soreness that does not improve within a few days should be treated by a medical professional to prevent long-term injury; sudden penis pain or trauma should be treated as a medical emergency.
1. Excessive manipulation– Unfortunately, when it comes to masturbation and sex, there can be too much of a good thing, at least as far as the penis skin is concerned. Overdoing it with bedroom acrobatics or vigorous handling can lead to sore penis skin, as the outer dermal layers become chafed and irritated. Keeping the skin well-moisturized, using a lube during sexual activity and taking a break once in a while can help to keep soreness under control.
2. Foreskin problems– Men with an intact foreskin are prone to some common problems which can cause irritation, redness and pain in the penis. An infection of the penis known as balanitis often occurs when the area under the foreskin is not properly cleansed; this can lead to swelling, itching, burning and a cheesy discharge. Another foreskin-related problem, known as phimosis, is diagnosed when the foreskin is too tight to retract easily over the head. In many cases, this can be resolved by gentle manipulation accompanied by regular moisturizing and treatment with skin-friendly vitamins and minerals.
3. Yeast infection– Changes in body chemistry can cause the overgrowth of a yeast known as Candida albicans, which is normally present on the skin without causing any symptoms. When yeast infection (sometimes known as thrush)occurs, men may experience inflammation, severe itching, redness and penis pain, as well as a cottage-cheese like discharge. Yeast infections sometimes go away by themselves, but treatment with an over-the-counter medication is generally recommended. Maintaining chemical balance through proper nutrition of the skin may help to prevent yeast infection.
4. Jock itch – Anothertype of fungal growth caused by an organism known as tinea cruris, jock itch is a highly contagious infection that can be passed from one person to another on clothing, towels and other personal items. This yeast thrives in warm, moist areas and can cause a red, spreading rash, severe itching, and discomfort and penis pain – especially if it affects the head or urethral opening. Keeping the area clean, dry and well-moisturized can prevent the fungus from getting a foothold and spreading on the skin.
5. Skin injury– Often, penis pain is simply the result of minor skin injuries, such as scratches, cuts, insect bites or the unpleasant but sometimes unavoidable zipper trauma. Keeping the skin well-moisturized and healthy overall through the use of penis-friendly nutrients can help boost resistance to injury and speed healing when it does occur.
Preventing and treating pain in the penis
While penis pain cannot always be prevented, it is less likely to occur and tends to heal faster when the skin of the penis is healthy overall. Supporting healthy function of the skin and nerve cells through the use of specialized penis health cream which contains penis-specific nutrients (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil)such as vitamin A (for smooth, supple skin); vitamin C (for immune function and healthy circulatory tissue); vitamin D (for overall skin health); alpha lipoic acid (for stimulating blood flow); and natural moisturizers such as shea butter can help to prevent minor injuries and infection and sooth penis pain and irritation.
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.
Soreness of the penis is a common symptom, especially in younger men.
Fortunately, in most cases the cause turns out to be nothing serious. But occasionally, it’s necessary to seek medical help, particularly if there are other symptoms present.
Soreness due to sex
Overall, the most common cause of a sore penis is simply unaccustomed or prolonged sex. This is particularly true in young men.
If you’ve never had sex before (or not had much), your first experiences are quite likely to make you a bit sore, simply because of the new friction.
Also, if you have prolonged sex, the skin of your penis will likely react to all this friction by becoming quite sore. Soreness is more probable if the sex is very vigorous.
Prolonged masturbation can also cause soreness, as can prolonged attention by a partner (a so-called ‘hand job’).
Oral sex is less likely to cause it, unless you’re unlucky enough to get a jab from your partner’s teeth.
Sex-induced soreness tends to affect the foreskin mainly. But if you’ve been circumcised, the soreness will principally occur in the skin of the shaft of your organ.
If you’re fair-skinned, the soreness will usually be accompanied by quite marked redness. And if you’re darker-skinned, the foreskin or shaft may well look a little blacker than usual while the soreness persists.
Sometimes, soreness due to prolonged sex is accompanied by a rather alarming-looking swelling of the penis. This is due to lymph fluid leaking out into the tissues.
Don’t be frightened by it – it will go down within a week.
If you have a sore penis caused by prolonged or unaccustomed sex, you don’t need any specific treatment. Just give sex a rest for a few days!
Applying any bland cream, such as aqueous cream, will be soothing. There’s no point in using any medication that contains drugs.
When you resume sex, take it easy. Don’t prolong it for hours. And there’s no harm in asking your partner to be gentle with you.
Soreness accompanied by a cut or bleeding
If you’re sore because you seem to have a little cut, this is usually due to a tear in the fraenum (or fraenulum).
That is the tiny pink or black ‘string’, which is on the far side of your erect penis, just below the head. It’s easily damaged during sex.
Zip-fastener trauma can also occur.
Apply cotton wool, or other clean material, to the tear, and press firmly until all bleeding stops. Then apply a little Vaseline.
If you can’t stop the bleeding (which is most unlikely), go to A&E.
Also, if the cut hasn’t healed up within a week, consult a doctor – preferably at a sexual health clinic, also known as a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
Very occasionally, it’s necessary to get a surgeon to stitch the cut. After a cut or tear, don’t try to have sex for at least a week.
Soreness associated with itching
Itching and soreness around the foreskin are often due to thrush.
This is a common, non-serious fungal infection, caused by a species called Candida albicans. Your partner may well have thrush too. And the fungus may give her not only itching but also a creamy white cottage cheese-like discharge.
See a doctor – either a GP or someone at a GUM clinic. They will give you an anti-fungal cream. And they’ll advise about treating your partner.
Sometimes, a man who has had diabetes for years develops a persistently sore foreskin, caused by thrush.
This happens because the fungus thrives on the sugar he has been passing in his urine.
In these circumstances, sometimes the best course is to have a circumcision operation.
Soreness associated with ulcers
Ulcers are little raw places on the penis, often circular or oval. They may look rather like craters.
So, if you think you’ve got an ulcer on your penis, don’t mess about. Go to a GUM clinic for diagnosis and treatment.
In the meantime – don’t have sex.
Soreness and lack of hygiene
If you don’t wash regularly under your foreskin, the area may become slightly inflamed and sore.
There may be a build-up of white stuff called smegma. This is a natural body product, but it shouldn’t be allowed to accumulate, because that encourages germs to breed.
Soreness with balanitis
Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis. This can be sore.
It could be due to thrush (see above) or to an allergy, or to certain rare disorders of the body’s connective tissue.
Occasionally it can be caused by generalised skin diseases (see next section).
Sore penis and skin disorders
A sexual health nurse or a dermatologist can help you here.
Sore penis and spots
If you have penile soreness plus spots, please consult the NetDoctor article called ‘Spots on the penis‘.
Sore penis and cancer
Some younger males are fearful that a sore penis might indicate cancer. This is most unlikely.
In reality, cancer of the penis is rare.
It mostly occurs in older, uncircumcised men who haven’t practiced good hygiene – in other words, who have rarely washed under the foreskin during their lives.
The chief symptom is a lump or ulcer, which may be foul-smelling, under the foreskin – plus soreness or pain. Urgent surgical treatment is necessary.