IT’S a topic most men don’t want to talk, or even think, about.
But pain or discomfort down below is something that shouldn’t be ignored.
Often it can be treated at home, but there are cases that are a little more serious and should be dealt with by a doctor.
From a sexually transmitted infection, to cancer and even fractures, here are 11 reasons why your penis might be hurting…
Balanitis is pain, redness and swelling of the tip of the penis and foreskin.
It can also cause whitish, lumpy discharge and spots, and is often caused by an allergic reaction or irritation.
Your doctor can prescribe antibacterial or antifungal creams to clear up the condition.
Stretching exercises to loosen the foreskin may also be needed to reduce inflammation.
To prevent it happening in the first place, make sure you’re washing with warm water and soap every day, Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of Patient.info, told The Sun Online.
“Get into the habit of pulling it back, washing gently with warm water and soap, rinsing thoroughly and pulling the foreskin forward again when you finish,” Sarah said.
“If you don’t wash regularly a smegma – a cheesy substance that builds up under the foreskin if you don’t wash regularly – builds up.”
Priapism is the medical term for a persistent or painful erection.
It’s considered a medical emergency if it lasts for more than two hours.
If it’s not treated quickly, priapism can cause permanent damage to your member and affect you having erections in the future.
Sometimes it is a side-effect of drugs or alcohol use, but it can also be a sign of a blood disorder.
Sexually transmitted infections, including gonorrhoea and chlamydia, may also cause discomfort during sex.
Chlamydia is one of the most common forms of STI in England and around 200,000 people test positive for the bacterial infection every year.
At least half of all men with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms at all.
If they do the most common signs include pain when urinating, unusual discharge, burning while urinating and pain in the testicles.
When left untreated, it can cause swelling in the epididymis – the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles – and could affect fertility.
Gonorrhoea, the second most common sexually transmitted infection in England, is sometimes known as “the clap”.
Symptoms usually develop within about two weeks of being infected, although sometimes they don’t appear until many months later.
One in 10 men will not experience any obvious symptoms, so it can go untreated for sometime.
Symptoms can include unusual discharge, pain when urinating, inflammation of the foreskin and in some cases, tenderness in the testicles.
4. Peyronie’s disease
Some men experience a condition called Peyronie’s disease, which causes the penis to become curved when it is erect.
It can also cause numbness through a build-up of scar tissue, which can block blood flow to the penis and numbness and a loss of size
It is perfectly normal for a penis to have a slight curve when it is standing to attention, but men with Peyronie’s disease will have a prominent curve that causes pain.
Peyronie’s disease can also lead to difficulty have sex and erectile dysfunction.
It mostly affects men over 40, according to the NHS, but it can affect anyone at any age.
5. Urinary tract infections
UTIs are usually a result of bacteria getting into the urinary tract through the urethra.
It tends to affect women more because their urinary tract is shorter, but they can also affect men.
Symptoms in men include a pain or burning sensation when urinating, feeling the need to pee when the bladder is empty or blood in the urine.
A doctor will usually prescribe a course of antibiotics to treat a UTI.
6. Penile fracture
Many think breaking your penis is an urban legend, but it CAN actually happen.
If you’re too vigorous in the bedroom department, you could end up with a penile fracture.
It’s rupture of either one or both of the tunica albuginea (the membranes that cover the penis’s erectile tissue.)
It is caused by rapid blunt force to an erect penis and typically occurs during vaginal intercourse, or aggressive masturbation.
Doctors say some positions will make the risk of penile fracture higher.
A study, featured in the International Journal of Impotence Research, discovered that doggy style is the most dangerous – with 41 per cent of cases of penile fracture occurring because of this position.
In at second was Missionary, with the man on top, causing 25 per cent of penile fractures – followed, in third place, by the woman on top.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland, which is found between the penis and bladder and produces fluid that’s mixed with sperm to create semen.
It’s a very painful and distressing condition that can affect men of all ages.
There are two different type – acute prostatisis and chronic prostatitis.
Acute prostatitis is usually caused when bacteria in the urinary tract enters the prostate.
Symptoms are severe and develop suddenly.
With chronic prostatitis, the symptoms come and go over several months making it harder to detect.
In either case it’s important to see the GP for treatment.
Urethritis is inflammation of the tube that carries urine from the bladder through the penis.
It’s typically caused by bacteria or a virus but can sometimes be a reaction to spermicides or contraceptive lotions – and even an injury.
Symptoms tend to include an itchy, tender or swollen penis and a frequent urge to pee along with a burning sensation when passing water.
Sometimes there are also small bumps in the groin area and sex or ejaculation can be painful.
Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis.
It’s perfectly normal in uncircumcised boys before the foreskin loosens, but in some cases it causes painful symptoms for adults.
It makes the chances of developing infections like balanitis increase and according to the NHS, repeated infections are linked to a higher risk of developing some types of penile cancer as they can weaken your immune system.
Treatment includes applying a steroid cream every day but in some cases surgery is needed.
Circumcision is usually only recommended as a last resort, although it can sometimes be the best and only treatment option.
Paraphimosis is where the foreskin can’t be returned to its original position after being retracted.
It’s a serious condition that requires emergency medical treatment to avoid serious complications.
A local anaesthetic gel can be applied to reduce pain and inflammation.
But in some more difficult cases, docs might have to make a small slit in the foreskin to relieve the pressure.
In very severe cases, it can cause the tissue to turn black and die as the blood can’t reach the tip and it may have to be amputated.
11. Penile cancer
Penile cancer is a rare type of cancer that occurs on the skin or within the penis.
There are several types of penile cancer, depending on the type of cell the cancer developed from, and it tends to be most common in men over 50.
Signs include a growth or sore on the penis that doesn’t heal within four weeks, bleeding from the penis or under the foreskin or a foul-smelling discharge.
Other symptoms include a thickening of the skin of the penis or foreskin that makes it difficult to draw back the foreskin, a change in the colour of the skin of the penis or foreskin or a rash on the penis.
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If left untreated, the cancer can spread to the urethra, the tube in the middle of the penis that carries urine and semen, or the prostate, the gland between the testicles and anus.
The exact cause of penile cancer isn’t known, but certain risk factors can increase your chances of getting it, including carrying the human papilloma virus, age, smoking and having phimosis.
In the most serious of cases a complete penectomy – removal of the penis – is needed to give a man a chance of surviving the disease.
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