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What are the Causes and Signs of Penile Injury?

The penis is hurt much less often than other parts of the body. It can be wounded as a result of:

  • car accidents
  • machine accidents
  • gunshot wounds
  • burns
  • sex
  • sports

The penis is most often hurt during sex. Injury to the penis is rare when it isn't erect because it is flexible. During an erection, blood flow in the arteries makes the penis firm. During forceful thrusting, the erect penis may slip out of the vagina and strike the partner instead of going back into the vagina. The penis may then bend sharply despite the erection. You may feel a sharp pain in the penis and maybe hear a "popping" sound. This is often followed by a rapid loss of the erection. The pain and sound are made by a tear in the tunica albuginea, which is stretched tightly during an erection. Urologists often call this injury a penile "fracture," even though there is no bone in the penis. The pain may last for a short time or it may continue. Blood can build up under the skin of the penis (hematoma), and may become swollen and badly bruised. Blood at the tip of the penis or in the urine is a sign of a serious injury to the urethra.

Placing a rubber tube or other constricting device around the base of the penis that is too tight or left on for too long can also injure the penis. Rings or other stiff objects (such as plastic or metal) should never be placed around the penis. These objects can become stuck if the penis swells further. These items can cause lasting damage to the penis if the blood flow is blocked for too long. The urethra and/or penis may also be damaged if objects are put into the tip of the penis.