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Problems with the Penis

If you have erection problems, see chart 33

Pain or soreness of the penis that is not related to injury is often due to infection in the urinary tract or of the skin of the penis. Inflammation may be caused by friction during sexual intercourse. You should consult your doctor if there is any change in the appearance of the skin of the penis.

  • What kind of problem are you experiencing?

    • Painful or sore penis

      When does the pain occur?

      • Only with an erection

        Has the painful erection now subsided?

        • Subsided
          • Possible cause If you are not circumcised, the cause may be an abnormally tight foreskin (see Phimosis). Peyronie’s disease can also cause pain with erection.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Still present
          • Possible cause Priapism, in which there is an obstruction to the flow of blood leaving the penis, could be the cause of your symptoms.

            Medical help URGENT! Phone your doctor immediately!

      • Only when passing urine
      • At other times

        Has your penis become inflamed?

        • Only tip inflamed
          • Possible cause This may be balanitis.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Whole penis inflamed
          • Possible cause An allergic reaction, such as to the latex in condoms or to a contraceptive cream, may cause inflammation of this type (see Eczema, and Contact dermatitis).

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Neither

          Do you have any of the following on the skin of your penis?

          • Ulcers
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • Sore areas
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • Blisters
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • None of the above
            • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your problem from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • Discharge from penis
      • Possible cause A sexually transmitted infection, such as gonorrhoea or nongonococcal urethritis, may be the cause.

        Medical help See your doctor within 24 hours or go to a clinic specializing in STIs.

    • Foreskin problem

      How is the foreskin affected?

      • Has been retracted but cannot be replaced
        • Possible cause Inability to replace a retracted foreskin is called paraphimosis (see Phimosis).

          Medical help EMERGENCY! Dial 999/112 and ask for an ambulance. While waiting for help, surround the affected area with an ice pack.

      • After childhood, cannot be fully retracted
        • Possible cause An abnormally tight foreskin (see Phimosis) may cause these problems.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • Balloons when passing urine
        • Possible cause An abnormally tight foreskin (see Phimosis) may cause these problems.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

      • None of the above

        Has your penis become inflamed?

        • Only tip inflamed
          • Possible cause This may be balanitis.

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Whole penis inflamed
          • Possible cause An allergic reaction, such as to the latex in condoms or to a contraceptive cream, may cause inflammation of this type (see Eczema, and Contact dermatitis).

            Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

        • Neither

          Do you have any of the following on the skin of your penis?

          • Ulcers
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • Sore areas
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • Blisters
            • Possible cause Any of these skin symptoms may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital herpes.

              Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

          • None of the above
            • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your problem from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • Change in appearance of erect penis
      • Possible cause Your problem may be caused by Peyronie’s disease.

        Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor.

    • None of the above

      Have you noticed either of the following on your penis?

      • Flat, painless sore
        • Possible cause This may be a chancre (see Syphilis) or cancer of the penis.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic for sexually transmitted infections.

      • Small, fleshy lumps
        • Possible cause You probably have genital warts.

          Medical help Make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted infections.

      • Neither
        • If you cannot identify a possible cause for your problem from this chart, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Warning

Blood in the semen

Blood-streaked semen is usually caused by leakage from small blood vessels in the prostate or seminal vesicles. A single episode is unlikely to be a cause for concern, but, if it recurs, you should consult your doctor. It is also important to consult your doctor if you notice a bloodstained discharge that is not related to ejaculation or if you notice blood in your urine.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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