Penis Pain And Painful Erections

What Causes Penis Pain, and What Can You Do About it?

There are different types of penis pain. Depending on what is causing your pain, you may feel pain inside or outside the penis or experience pain during sex. If you are concerned about pain in your penis or painful erections, speak to your doctor.

Dr Simran Deo Medical Editor

Medically reviewed by

Dr Simran Deo

Last reviewed: 29 Oct 2019

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.

Penile fracture

Another, rare, cause of painful erections is a penile fracture. Fracture of the penis 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 corpus cavernosum). which contribute to the creation of erections. A penile fracture causes sudden, severe pain, swelling and then bruising of the penis. This condition can lead to erectile dysfunction, so if you suspect that you have a it you must seek medical help immediately.


Priapism is another cause of painful erections. Priapism is 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 very common and consists of inflammation of the head of the penis. The symptoms are often an itchy rash, with swelling, redness and sometimes pain. It can occur due to a bacterial or fungal infection or a sexually transmitted infection, but may occur due to poor hygiene, a reaction to a cream, lotion or lubricant, or even over-washing.

What Can Cause Penile Pain?

If you experience pain when passing urine, it could be caused by a urinary tract infection (UTI). The pain is felt in the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. It can feel sharp and intense, almost like a burning sensation and may also be accompanied by symptoms such as blood in the urine, needing to urinate more frequently, and an urgent need to urinate.

Pain when passing urine may also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea include pain in the penis on urinating, as well as discharge from the penis and swollen testicles.

Genital herpes can cause blisters on the penis and testicles, which often occur after a sensation of itching and burning. Other symptoms of genital herpes include blisters on and around the anus and buttocks, muscle aches, fever, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, and a loss of appetite.

If you are experiencing pain in your penis with or without any of the above symptoms, make sure that you see your doctor as delaying treatment could cause long-term health problems.

How is the Pain Treated?

The treatment varies and depends on the cause of the pain.

If you have a UTI or an STD, your doctor may be able to prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition. You can also buy treatment for chlamydia online without the need to see a doctor.

Genital herpes is treated with antiviral medicines, including Aciclovir and Valaciclovir. To get treated without seeing a doctor face to face, use our online consultation. A doctor will use your answers to our brief online questionnaire to diagnose your condition and approve appropriate treatment.

What Can I Do if I Have Painful Erections?

If you have painful erections caused by Peyronie’s disease, the treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. If your penis is slightly curved but you are still able to have sex comfortably, then treatment may not be needed. The condition can get better on its own, though in some cases treatment with medications or injections may be needed. Surgery may or may not be an appropriate option, and depends on the degree of pain you are feeling and whether the condition is interfering with your ability to have sex.

If you have a painful erection caused by priapism, treatment will depend on whether you have non-ischaemic (high blood flow to the penis) or ischaemic (low blood flow) priapism. Both require prompt medical attention however, and if you have a painful erection that lasts for more than four hours, seek medical help immediately to avoid causing further problems such as erectile dysfunction.

If you have sustained an injury to your penis and you experience painful erections or problems with erections afterwards, make sure that you get medical help as soon as possible to avoid further problems in the future.

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