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    Penis pain

    Pain - penis; Priapism

    Penis pain is any pain or discomfort in the penis.


    • 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)
    • Injury
    • Peyronie's disease
    • Reiter syndrome
    • Sickle cell anemia
    • Syphilis
    • Urethritis caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea

    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.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    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 Office Visit

    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


    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.


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      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

          Tests for Penis pain

            Review Date: 10/9/2012

            Reviewed By: 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.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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