Is it possible to fracture your penis?
Answer From Matthew (Matt) J. Ziegelmann, M.D.
Yes. Although rare, a penis fracture can occur when there is trauma to an erect penis.
A penis fracture differs from other fractures in the body because the penis has no bones. During an erection, the penis is engorged with blood that fills two cylinders (corpora cavernosa). If an engorged penis is bent suddenly or forcefully, the trauma can rupture the outer lining of one of the two cylinders (tunica albuginea). This can result in a penis fracture.
The trauma is most often caused by sexual intercourse, such as when the penis slips out of the vagina and is accidentally thrust against the pelvis. But a penis fracture can also occur due to aggressive masturbation or taqaandan, a cultural practice in which the top of an erect penis is forcefully bent to relax an erection.
A penis fracture often results in a penis that bulges and appears purple, looking somewhat like an eggplant. Signs and symptoms of a penis fracture include:
- Immediate penile pain
- A popping or cracking sound
- Rapid loss of erection
- Swelling in the penile shaft
- Discoloration of the penile shaft due to bleeding underneath the skin
Sometimes the tube that drains urine from the body (urethra) is damaged as well, and blood might be visible at the urinary opening of the penis.
A penis fracture requires urgent medical attention. The injury can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam, but additional testing such as an ultrasound may be needed. Prompt surgical repair is typically recommended.
Left untreated, a penis fracture might result in a curved penis or the permanent inability to get or keep an erection firm enough for sex (erectile dysfunction).