Table of Contents
- 1 1. Having trouble staying erect? It could be erectile dysfunction
- 2 2. Premature ejaculation
- 3 3. Retrograde ejaculation
- 4 4. Peyronie’s disease
- 5 5. Penis fracture
- 6 6. Priapism
- 7 7. Phimosis (tight foreskin)
- 8 8. Balanitis
- 9 9. Lichen sclerosus
- 10 10. Thrush
- 11 11. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- 12 How to tell if there’s something not right with your penis
- 13 I think I may have one of these penis problems, what do I do?!
Penis health is a major concern for a lot of men, but would you be able to spot when something’s wrong? Most men are aware when something not quite right is going on down below but many do not know what or why this is happening and don’t seek help either due to embarrassment, being too busy, or just hoping that things will clear up on their own. When it comes to health we shouldn’t sweep problems under the carpet, so we’re facing penis problems head-on!
If things just aren’t looking or feeling the same (much like this cactus mimicking a banana), if you have irritation, pain or some sort of sexual dysfunction it may be one of these 11 penis problems.
1. Having trouble staying erect? It could be erectile dysfunction
Men experience a number of erections throughout the day and night. Erections when aroused, erections while sleeping, waking up with an erection, spontaneous erections are all normal or are signs that everything is working as it should. When erections become far and few between, or are non-existent even with a sexual stimulus, sure enough, you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction.
ED in men is more common than you may think, around half of men aged 40-70 have problems getting or maintaining an erection. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons why you’re not getting an erection including stress, tiredness, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, or an underlying condition such as low testosterone. But essentially, not getting an erection is a result of lack of blood flow to the penis.
An erection occurs when you are physically or mentally aroused which triggers a hormonal response that allows the arteries to relax and open to let blood flow into the penis and the veins close. Pressure traps this blood and the penis expands and holds an erection. With erectile dysfunction, something interrupts this process. Luckily, there are some tried and tested ED treatments out there which help you get and maintain an erection when you need it most, including the revolutionary little blue pill.
2. Premature ejaculation
Another common sexual dysfunction in men related to the penis is a condition known as premature ejaculation. How long a man lasts in bed or how soon they ejaculate is all subjective, but if you’re persistently ejaculating quicker than you or your partner would like then this may be considered to be premature ejaculation. It’s very common for men of all ages to experience occasional premature ejaculation or at least once in their lifetime.
You may not consider this to be a problem as such, but if it is causing you stress, anxiety, and problems in your relationship it’s definitely worth getting checked out and finding out what help is available for this common problem. Premature ejaculation may be solved with a simple spray known as Fortacin. This spray works by decreasing sensitivity in the head of the penis to prolong the time before ejaculating.
3. Retrograde ejaculation
You’ve more than likely heard of the first two penis problems, but what’s retrograde ejaculation? You’ve not heard it before because it’s one of the less common ejaculation problems. However, you may have heard it being called ‘dry orgasm’ as it is a condition which causes semen to enter the bladder instead of coming out of the penis during orgasm. Despite reaching climax, semen is nowhere to be seen or there is very little semen. Retrograde ejaculation isn’t serious and it won’t get in the way of feeling pleasure during sex, but it can affect fertility if not enough semen is produced out of the penis to fertilise an egg. It’s not that you have low sperm count, it’s simply that it’s not reaching the egg which is why you may have fertility issues.
Look out for: Cloudy pee - this is a sign that there may be semen in your bladder.
4. Peyronie’s disease
If you feel pain while erect and have a curve in your penis these could be signs of Peyronie’s disease. Of course, it’s common to have a slightly curved penis when erect but if this curve becomes more severe and noticeable, and you have other symptoms such as lumps under the skin, it may be Peyronie’s disease. These lumps are associated with scar tissue or plaque which is thought to be the cause of this disease. Not all men with this disease will experience problems during sex, but for some, it may make sex painful and near impossible.
Every penis is shaped and sized differently, but when things change with shape and size this should be a cause for concern. After all, this may be its way of telling you there’s something going on and there may be an underlying problem.
5. Penis fracture
Yes, you can actually break your penis! However, it is rare and it’s not quite like fracturing your arm. The penis is not a bone and penis fracture is more of a rupture of the membrane known as tunica albuginea which surrounds the corpora cavernosa in the penis. This happens because of rapid and forceful injury or bending of the penis which can happen accidentally during sex or through aggressive masturbating. It’s a serious injury which can cause bleeding, bruising and pain, and you will need urgent medical treatment to avoid permanent deformities or erection problems.
Long-lasting erections are what some men dream of, but be careful what you wish for. Erections that last hours can be a serious problem and can cause permanent damage to your penis. Priapism is a painful erection that can last hours and is unrelated to any sexual stimulation. While the erection can reduce on its own within a couple of hours, you may need hospital treatment particularly if the erection has lasted for more than 4 hours.
7. Phimosis (tight foreskin)
Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin is too tight and can’t be pulled back over the head of the penis. This may cause the penis to become red, sore, swollen, and it may be difficult to urinate, if this is the case you will need urgent treatment. Paraphimosis is the opposite to this condition and occurs when the foreskin is pulled back and cannot return to its original position. It’s important to practice good penis hygiene to prevent these problems and prevent infections which may cause phimosis.
Balanitis is skin irritation or inflammation on the head of the penis, the foreskin, or the glans. It can cause redness, swelling, soreness, itching and even a bad smell around the penis. Men or boys who have balanitis may also have phimosis. It may also be a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection. Again, good penis hygiene will help to prevent this condition from developing.
9. Lichen sclerosus
This condition affects both men and women and is a skin disorder of the genitals, in men it affects the foreskin and the end of the penis. Itchy, white patches are a sign of lichen sclerosus. The patches may be smooth or wrinkled and in severe cases, they may bleed or blister. This condition may lead to complications if left untreated such as the skin becoming scarred or tight, the foreskin may be difficult to pull back and sex may be painful.
Thrush is most commonly associated with women, but did you know this can also occur in men? Thrush is a yeast infection caused by a fungus called Candida albicans and this can infect the mouth (oral thrush) and the genitals. In men, it affects the head of the penis and causes irritation, discharge and redness. The symptoms of thrush are very similar to STIs and the two can often be mistaken for each other. So, if you suspect you have thrush, visit your GP or sexual health clinic to rule out any STIs.
11. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Some of the most common problems that occur down there in both men and women are sexually transmitted infections. The most common STIs in men include chlamydia, HPV, HIV, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, and syphilis. STIs will affect the penis in men and symptoms may include pain when urinating or ejaculating, discharge, itching of the penis, and any spots, lumps, blisters or lesions on or around the penis. However, it’s important to remember that STIs don’t always show symptoms, so it’s important to get regularly tested even if you’re not showing any penis problems yet.
Our STI page has lots more information on symptoms, how to get tested, and treatment.
How to tell if there’s something not right with your penis
We all know our bodies, and when we experience any changes or pain we know something might not be quite right which would prompt us to get it checked out. Examining your penis regularly will help you to notice any changes, this is particularly important when it comes to more serious penis problems such as testicular cancer which may manifest itself as a lump or an enlargement of either testicle.
Generally, if you have any pain or discomfort in or around your penis, you have discharge, pain when urinating, erection problems, spots/blisters/skin changes on the penis, or changes in the shape or size, you should see your GP as soon as possible to find out what’s going on.
I think I may have one of these penis problems, what do I do?!
First of all, don’t panic! It’s easy to get yourself in a state of panic when you have symptoms of any of these problems but it’s important to remember that there are lots of treatments available and a lot of these disorders are very curable. These symptoms don’t always mean cancer so don’t worry yourself, but do get checked out as soon as possible to put your mind at ease.
Second of all, don’t feel embarrassed! A lot of men put off going to see their GP for a problem they may have down below due to embarrassment. We know it’s not the most comfortable experience, but an examination and diagnosis from your doctor will save you a lot of hassle, pain, and complications later down the line.
If it’s an emergency such as penis fracture or prolonged erection of more than 4 hours, go to your nearest A&E department urgently. For other penis matters, your GP or pharmacist, or our online doctors (if speaking to your doctor face to face is not an option) will be able to give you advice and treatment, so you can start feeling like you again.