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Our Health Information Database is provided by A.D.A.M. the leading provider of electronic and printed information for professionals and consumers in healthcare and industry. It provides authoritative, reliable content written and reviewed by an editorial board who represent a variety of specialty areas. This board reviews and evaluates all healthcare information to ensure it is accurate, reliable, and can be used with complete confidence. And now you have access to the same authoritative, trusted clinical information relied upon by health professionals around the world.
Penis pain

Definition

Penis pain is any pain or discomfort in the penis.

Alternative Names

Pain - penis; Priapism

Considerations

Common Causes

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.

Call your health care provider if

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 health care provider's office

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

References

Burnett AL. Priapism. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 26.

Frenkl T, Potts J. Sexually transmitted diseases. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 11.

Pettaway CA, Lunch DF, Davis JW. Tumors of the penis. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 31.

Jordan GH. Peyronie's disease. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 25.

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    Review Date: 9/3/2010

    Review By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., 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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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