Painful Erections

You get an erection, and it’s painful. Why is this happening to you?

It may be because of a medical condition like Peyronie’s disease or priapism. So today, we’re getting into the facts surrounding this issue!

You Feel Pain in Your Penis When Erect

Painful erections can also be due to rare cancers, trauma to the groin area or a condition called parasomnia. But, again, the signs and symptoms can vary.

Let’s examine the various conditions that may result in painful erections. We’ll also discuss treatments and preventative measures.

Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s Disease causes a noticeable bend to the penis caused by plaque (built-up scar tissue, not like a tooth or artery-clogging plaque).

It’s likely not Peyronie’s disease if you notice a slight curve on your penis without pain. Men suffering from the condition experience symptoms that worsen over time. 

Peyronie’s Disease develops in two phases:

The acute phase occurs during the onset of Peyronie’s Disease. Men will notice the bend in their penis changing and feel pain in the penis when it’s erect. The penis may even shrink, and as more plaque forms, it can feel like small lumps on one side of the penis.

A symptom many men experience in the acute phase of Peyronie’s Disease is erectile dysfunction, but effective treatments are available!

The chronic phase is the second phase of Peyronie’s Disease. The bend in a man’s penis will not worsen at this stage, and some men report that their pain goes away during the chronic phase.

Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease

Treatment options for Peyronie's Disease

Please don’t think you have to suffer from Peyronie’s Disease anymore! These treatment options are effective and available to you right now:

  • Shockwave Therapy isn’t shocking at all! This therapy uses acoustic soundwaves to break up plaque and treat Peyronie’s Disease.
  • Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy is generally shortened to PRP. There are healing properties within the platelets in your blood, and this therapy accelerates your Peyronie’s treatment by injecting PRP directly into the harmful plaque.

Now, another cause: a long-lasting erection that could result from a condition called priapism.

When a Long-Lasting Erection Is a Concern

A prolonged erection without sexual arousal may signal priapism. There are two common types of priapism resulting in a long-lasting, full or partial erection:

Ischemic Priapism

Also known as low-flow priapism, this condition happens when blood becomes trapped in the penis because the muscles aren’t contracting correctly or there’s a blockage in the veins within the penis.

Ischemic priapism can cause these symptoms:

  • A long-lasting erection (four or more hours) that isn’t caused by sexual arousal or stimulating the penis
  • The shaft of the penis is rigid, but the tip (the glans) remains soft
  • Pain in the penis gets worse with time.

Nonischemic Priapism

Also known as high-flow priapism, blood flow through the penile arteries gets affected, but some blood and oxygen continue to flow into the penis. A traumatic injury often causes nonischemic priapism to the groin.

Nonischemic priapism can cause these symptoms:

  • A long-lasting erection (four or more hours) that isn’t caused by sexual arousal or stimulating the penis
  • The whole penis gets partially erect but not rigid
  • It’s typically not painful.

Please don’t take a long-lasting erection or any form of priapism lightly. It’s your health, and it’s important, so see a doctor or sexual health specialist for a proper diagnosis!


Cancers of the Penis

Penile cancer is a rare disease involving cancerous cells replicating fast in a man’s skin and going deeper into his organ.

Penile cancer can cause these symptoms:

  • The skin around the penis gets thicker or changes colour
  • Rashes or crusty bumps form on your penis like infected scabs that can bleed
  • A blue-brown growth appears on the penis
  • There’s a foul discharge under your foreskin
  • The tip or glans of your penis swells up
  • Lumps appear under the skin around your groin.

How to Help Prevent Penile Cancer

You can prevent the risks of developing most cancers with easy-to-follow measures, including:

  • Cut back on smoking, or better, quit altogether
  • Work on slowly and steadily losing weight
  • Increase your physical activity with walks or start low-weight training
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Try to lessen the time you’re exposed to carcinogens or radioactive materials.

Did you know that incorporating healthy lifestyle habits can prevent over one-third of the most common types of cancer? It’s great to know!

Effective Treatments for Penile Cancer

We’ve got more great news. When penile cancer is caught in the early stages, effective treatments are immediately available, including:

  • Medicated creams for the skin around your penis and groin
  • A procedure called cryotherapy freezes and destroys cancer in the penile tissues
  • Mohs surgery is a procedure where doctors remove cancerous tissues and leave healthy penile tissues 
  • Medical-grade lasers can target cancerous tissues and destroy them
  • If you have cancer within your foreskin, circumcision can be performed under anesthesia to remove the diseased tissue.

Advanced stages of penile cancer are more serious, but effective treatments do exist, including:

  • Lymph node surgery removes any cancers that have spread to your groin
  • Chemotherapy and radiation can rid your body of harmful cancer cells
  • A surgical procedure called penectomy removes cancer in some or all of your penis.

It’s important to note that you can still have sex while undergoing treatments for early-stage penile cancer. However, in advanced cases, radiation or chemotherapy can affect your ability to have intercourse.

sex and penile cancer treatments

Traumatic Injuries to the Penis and Groin

It’s not easy to discuss, but penile trauma happens. Car accidents, workplace injuries, sports injuries, or even injuries during sex may cause trauma to the penis or groin.

But did you know that most penile traumas do happen during intercourse?

Because the penis gets erect during sexual arousal and intercourse, trauma affects an erect penis more seriously than when the organ is flexible and not engorged with blood.

Here’s a situation where a person may get injured during sex:

  • If they are thrusting forcefully during intercourse, the rigid penis can slip from the partner’s body and physically strike a harder surface
  • This force of this causes the penis to bend sharply
  • Sometimes a popping noise is heard when a part of the penile tissue called the tunica albuginea is stretched too tightly and torn.

Medical professionals call this type of sexual trauma a penile fracture. The pain may be temporary, or it might continue. When blood builds up under the skin of the penis, a bad bruise (a hematoma) may become noticeable, and there will be swelling.

Blood coming from the tip of your penis or blood in your urine can signal trauma to the urethra on your penis.

Penile trauma

Treatments for Penile Fractures

Generally, surgery under anesthesia is necessary to mend a fractured penis. Most commonly, a small cut is made on the shaft of the penis so the skin can be pulled back and the inner tissues examined.

Any blood clotting is removed, and if the tunica albuginea is torn, it’s repaired by the surgeon. 

How To Prevent a Penile Fracture

Sexual trauma that causes a penile fracture is preventable! Studies have shown that more traumas occur when the partner is on top.

If this happens when you’re having sex, stop intense thrusting so the erect penis isn’t forced into a harder object, resulting in trauma.

Another Condition Causing Painful Erections


Do you remember that we mentioned parasomnia earlier in this article? It’s a rare condition that may cause sleep-related painful erection (SRPE).

SRPE can occur during nocturnal erections, otherwise regular nightly occurrences in healthy males. However, SRPE is different because it causes the person to have a painful erection that awakens them from sleep. 

While research into SRPE is ongoing, there are currently no effective treatments for the condition besides improving sleep and dietary habits.

It’s Time To Do Something About Painful Erections

Whether you’re experiencing a long-lasting erection that isn’t caused by arousal or you feel pain in your penis when erect, consider seeing a medical professional for the proper diagnosis. Left untreated, it could pose a risk.

Oakwood Health Network specializes in men’s health and sexual well-being. We offer early diagnosis and effective treatments to benefit your overall health and well-being.

Get in touch with us today, and get your mojo back!

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