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Penile  Pain

About Penile Pain

Penis pain can affect different parts of the penis, namely: the base, shaft, head or foreskin of the penis. The pain can vary depending on the type of disease or illness, some pain gradually gets worse while acute pain during an erection or urination is likely to be sharp or severe. Regardless, any form of pain, aches, itch or discomfort that is experienced at the penis should warrant a visit to the doctor if it happens often.

What Causes Penile Pain

Peyronie’s Disease
One of the most common causes of penile pain is Peyronie’s disease. It is the inflammation that causes a thin sheet of scar tissue called plaque which forms along the upper or lower ridges of the shaft of the penis. Peyronie’s disease is known to cause the penis to curve upwards or sideways during an erection.

Balanitis is the infection of the foreskin and head of the penis. It affects men who don’t regularly wash under their foreskin or who haven’t been circumcised. But it can also affect men who have been circumcised.
There are other causes of balanitis, such as:

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
  • Yeast Infection
  • Allergy to soap, perfumes & other products
Priapism is characterized by a painful and prolonged erection even when the individual does not wish to have sex. This condition is more common in people in their thirties.
Priapism needs to be treated immediately to prevent long-term effects that may affect your ability to have an erection.
Penile Cancer
Cancer cells can grow in the abdomen, breasts, bones or any region of the body, the penis is no exception to the list. Though penile cancer is rare, it is possible and can cause a burning feeling inside your penis or blood in urine and semen.
Penile Fracture
Trauma and injuries to the penis can result in penile “fracture”. Technically, there are no bones in the penis. These are caused by tears in the supporting connective tissues of the penis. Symptoms of a fracture are usually obvious and immediate as it causes intense pain at the location of the fracture.

Symptoms of Penile Pain

Penile pain can cause pain anywhere on the penis, but its intensity may differ depending on the type of condition.
Conditions such as Balanitis or Candidiasis can cause the penis to itch, it can also be indicative of other types of illness such as Lower Urinary Tract Infection. It is important to note if there are any abnormalities such as redness or genital warts as this can help the doctor diagnose the condition more accurately.
Other Symptoms
While pain and itching are the chief complaints, these symptoms may aggravate in certain situations such as during sexual intercourse, urination or ejaculation. Others such as Priapism may even result in a prolonged erection.

A Message About Penile Pain

While local causes of penile pain may be the obvious source of pain, referred pain from other causes can commonly present as penile pain. Bladder stones often present as the tip of the penis pain. Some urine tract infections as well as prostatitis can present as painful penis.

While we aim to treat the underlying causes of penile pain, there is a group of patients who are suffering from nerve-type pain – neuropathic pain. These are often nerve hypersensitivity of the penis, caused by irritation and nerve injury from other causes. Despite the eradication of the underlying medical conditions, once the nerve is stimulated or sensitized, it continues to persist as chronic penile pain. Penis being highly innervated, it is difficult to reverse the nerve-type pain once it has been set in place.

Diagnosing Penile Pain

Here at Singapore Paincare, our team of experienced primary care and specialist pain care doctors, together with the Urologist, will conduct a thorough diagnosis. This includes a physical exam, questions about your symptoms and an evaluation of your medical history. An X-ray or CT scan and/or PET scan may be needed to evaluate or confirm the degree and cause of pain.

What Treatments Are Available for Penile Pain?

In many instances, non-surgical treatment methods can provide excellent outcomes. At Singapore Paincare, we strive to treat your pain with the least invasive option possible after accurately identifying the cause. Our pain resolution approach focuses on removing pain generators via specialised injection and minimally invasive procedures. Combined with pharmacological treatments and cognitive and physical rehabilitative therapies. We help patients to improve their functions and prevent pain from recurring.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Penile Pain

Hormone Therapy
Some types of penile pain require the use of hormone drugs to re-adjust the body to its original functionality. This includes specific drugs such as progestogen or levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems
Anti-inflammatory drugs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are effective in eliminating the pain caused by different penile pain conditions. Primarily, these painkillers will be effective for conditions presenting with inflammatory injury. They will not be helpful for nerve type or neuropathic pain.
Cognitive Psychotherapy and Physiotherapy
Apart from physical therapy or direct forms of medications, cognitive therapy is also offered as penile pain can be a potentially frustrating condition. These forms of psychotherapy by our specialists are meant to address gynecologic care, parts of the therapy aim to improve stress and reduce pain experience.
Some penile pain conditions such as warts require removal. Cryoablation involves freezing to remove the unwanted wart growth.
Neurospan Radiofrequency Desensitization
In refractory chronic penile pain, Neurospan Treatment (nerve desensitisation and neuromodulation) may be helpful to provide adequate pain relief. The painful nerves S2 – S4 supplying the lower genitalia including the penis and testes may be targeted with pulsed radiofrequency ablation under caudal analgesia to provide long-lasting pain relief. This treatment is likened to “root canal” desensitisation of the painful sensitised tooth. It will not affect the ability to control urination or bowel movement.
Penile Prosthetics
Prosthetics are used to straighten the penis if it is affected by Peyronie’s.
Apart from NSAIDS, our physicians and specialists offer medications to improve or eliminate penis infections such as antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals. Alpha-blockers and anti-biotics may also be introduced to eliminate the infection from the body, especially if the cause is likely to be bacterial prostatitis.

Surgical Treatment for Penile Pain

In the case that all methods are exhausted, surgery may be recommended only if you are a suitable candidate. As surgery always comes with associated risks, complications and downtime, it may not be suitable for everyone. You should carefully weigh the decision before deciding to go under the knife by considering the pros and cons of both non-surgical methods and surgical reconstruction.

Surgical treatment
Surgery is done for penile fractures or cancer; it may involve removing scar tissues or sewing up the damaged tissues.

How Can I Prevent Penile Pain?

You can reduce your chances of developing penile pain by:

  • Using condoms during sex
  • Avoid rough movements that can potentially injure your penis
  • Avoid having sex with anyone who has an active infection
  • People with repeated infections or problems with their foreskin may consider having circumcision or make sure to thoroughly clean the foreskin to get rid of smegma or dead skin cells

Get Your Pain Resolved

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