What are the causes of painful erections?
The most common cause of painful erections is Peyronie’s disease. This is a condition where scar tissue develops in one area inside the penis, causing it to curve and resulting in painful erections. The pain felt in the penis by Peyronie’s disease makes it difficult and painful to have sex.
The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not known, however, it is thought that a trauma or injury to the penis may trigger the formation of scar tissue as the injury heals. This scar tissue can thicken and harden and as scar tissue isn’t flexible, the penis can bend when erect. The condition can also develop over a period of time without having a link to an injury or trauma to the penis.
Another, rare, cause of painful erections is a penile fracture. Penis fracture can be the result of a trauma to the penis when erect. As there is no bone inside the penis, the ‘fracture’ is actually the rupture of the lining of one of the tubes in the penis (the corpora cavernosa). which contribute to the creation of erections. A penile fracture causes sudden, severe pain, then swelling and bruising of the penis. A penis fracture can lead to erectile dysfunction, so if you suspect that you have a penile fracture you must seek medical help immediately.
Priapism is another cause of painful erections. Priapism means a persistent and painful erection which does not subside after ejaculation. The erection can last for several hours and it is often not related to sexual arousal. Priapism is a medical emergency and can lead to erectile dysfunction if left untreated. It is important to seek medical help if you have an erection that feels tender and painful and lasts for more than four hours.
Balanitis is a common inflammation of the penis, which can cause rash, swelling, itching and pain. It can occur as a reaction to a substance, a bacterial or a fungal infection or an STI.