When Should I See a Doctor About Penis Problems?
Having penis problems can impact not only your sex life but also your overall health and well-being. Changes in the penis can indicate something is wrong, and in some cases, urgent medical attention is needed. While most penile conditions can be addressed quickly and easily, it's important to speak to your doctor or a urologist about anything abnormal.
Some penis conditions include:
- Peyronie's disease. Plaque forms in the penis and causes it to curve
- Balanitis. Inflammation of the head of the penis
- Priapism. Long-lasting, typically painful erection that is a medical emergency
- Penile cancer. Rare type of cancer that begins in the skin cells of the penis
- Phimosis. The foreskin of an uncircumcised penis becomes so tight that it cannot be pulled off the head of the penis
When is it time to visit a doctor for your penis?
1. Burning when you urinate
A burning sensation during urination could signal one of a number of conditions, including prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland) and urethritis (inflammation of the urethra). It could also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a urinary tract infection (UTI), and because these causes require different treatments, be sure to get checked out by your doctor.
2. Pain in the penis
Besides accidentally getting hit in the penis, other circumstances may lead to pain in this sensitive area of your body.
While pain might be due to normal activities, such as your latest workout or perhaps overly aggressive masturbation, you should see a doctor if you notice persistent pain in your penis because some of the underlying causes require medical treatment.
Conditions that cause penis pain include Peyronie's disease, balanitis, UTIs, STIs, urethritis and penile cancer. Priapism is a painful erection that lasts longer than four hours, and you should head to the emergency room immediately to get this condition treated.
3. Warts or lumps on the penis
Genital warts are little lumps on the skin of the penis caused by the common virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are transmitted almost exclusively by skin-to-skin sexual contact. If you or your partner notice genital warts, you should seek treatment right away because HPV can lead to certain forms of cancer. You should also consider getting the HPV vaccine to prevent these infections.
4. Bent penis
When erect, many men may notice a curve in their penis, be it upward, downward or to the side. This condition, called Peyronie's disease, is nothing to be concerned about unless it interrupts your daily life. You should see a doctor if your penis hurts when it's erect or the curve interferes with sex. You can also look into switching sex positions to discover which ones work best for you and your partner.
5. Red spots on the penis
Red spots on the penis are not necessarily a sign of something serious. The spots could be the result of a minor skin irritation due to harsh soap or fabrics, in which case, they usually go away after a few days. However, keep an eye on them because they might be a sign of more serious ailments such as syphilis, an STI that is harmful if left untreated.
One of the common first symptoms of syphilis is a red and circular painless sore on or around the penis. Other signs of a potential syphilis infection include a rough, red rash that appears on your palms and feet, and if you notice this, you should head to the doctor right away.
6. Excessive itching
If your penis itches a lot, it could be a symptom of a fungal infection, more commonly known as a yeast infection. While women are more susceptible to yeast infections, men can also experience this condition, which leads to itchiness and redness on the foreskin or the glans (also known as the head of the penis) and often an unpleasant odor. Itching can also be a symptom of balanitis, or inflammation of the head of the penis, which is due to an STI or poor hygiene.
7. Blood in urine or semen
If you have blood in your urine or semen, you need to see a urologist as soon as possible. Fortunately, many of these cases are caused by a benign condition, such as a UTI, prostate infection or prostate bleeding. However, there's a chance it could be a sign of a serious condition such as bladder or kidney cancer. Blood in the semen usually resolves easily with anti-inflammatories or antibiotics.
8. Discharge from the penis
Discharge from the penis is often caused by urethritis, which is inflammation of the urethra, the tube that runs from the bladder to the end of the penis. You may experience pain when urinating or you may have no symptoms. Urethritis is often caused by the STI gonorrhea, though nongonococcal urethritis does not stem from the gonorrhea bacteria. Other STIs, including chlamydia, can cause penile discharge, which warrants a trip to the doctor.
Problems with your penis can have a significant negative impact on your life, potentially leading to relationship problems as well as anxiety, stress and depression. When in doubt, see a doctor or urologist, because the sooner you get your penis issue diagnosed and treated, the better.