Penile Fractures: How To Avoid It & What To Do If It Happens To You

A penile fracture can occur if your erection experiences trauma or excessive bending. If this occurs, see a doctor immediately.

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA
by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 07/31/2023
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Penile fractures occur as the result of a direct force that causes the penis to bend when it is erect. 

The penis doesn't have bones, but that doesn’t mean it can’t break. A penile fracture should be treated as an emergency situation.

And even though it may be uncomfortable to think about, it’s important to know the facts. Below we’ll take a look at:

  • What is it?
  • What causes it?
  • How to avoid it?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How to treat it?
  • What is the recovery time?

Quick FAQs

Yes, in fact, it is quite serious, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

In most cases, surgery is involved.

Generally it takes about 6 weeks to recover from a penile fracture.

What Is a Penile Fracture?

A penile fracture may occur during an erection through abrupt bending or force, causing the internal structures to tear.

The inside of the penis contains two cylindrical columns referred to as corpora cavernosa.

When these two columns fill with blood, this leads to an erection.

The two spongy columns are protected by the tunica albuginea, which is a thick protective layer of tissue.

When the erect penis is forced to bend abruptly, this tears the tunica albuginea.

It is this torn tunica albuginea that is commonly referred to as a penile fracture.

And if left untreated, it can lead to some serious issues like erectile dysfunction, painful erections, and penile deformity, just to name a few. 

Penile Fracture Symptoms

Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of penile fracture are:

  • A sudden crack or pop when the injury occurs
  • Loss of erection after the injury
  • Severe pain in the penis
  • Localized or diffuse swelling of the penis
    • Bruising under the skin of the penis
    • Bloody urine or difficulty urinating
    • Bleeding from the penis

      What Causes Penile Fractures?

      Most often, a penile fracture occurs when the penis slips the wrong way during sex and gets thrust hard against a partner.

      However, a penile fracture can also occur due to:

      • Aggressive masturbation
      • Hitting an erection on a piece of furniture, wall, or door frame
      • Falling on or accidentally rolling onto your erection
      • Practicing taqaandan, which is done by some cultures to manipulate the penis shape or make an erection subside

          Diagnosis of Penile Fracture

          A combination of physical examination, discussion of how the injury occurred, and imaging are most often used to make a diagnosis of penile fractures.

          If the doctor is looking to get a more in-depth look at the injury, a few imaging studies may be performed, including:

          • Ultrasound to determine which area of the penis is damaged
          • Cavernosography, which is an x-ray combined with dye to examine the blood vessels inside the penis
          • MRI (magnetic resonance imagining) to capture detailed images of the internal parts of the penis

          About 38 percent of men with a penile fracture will also have damage to the urethra.

          Therefore, the doctor may perform additional x-rays or urinary tests to check for signs of damage.

          Treatment for Penile Fracture

          Treatment after the penis has been fractured may involve surgery or at-home care.

          At-home care may involve:

          • Using ice packs to reduce pain and swelling
          • Wearing a wrap or splint to keep the penis in the proper position

          Even though certain at-home steps may help after a penile fracture, it is critical to seek the advice of a doctor.

          Surgery to repair the tear has been shown to lead to better outcomes for the patient because the rates of complications are high with only at-home treatments.

          In fact, surgery is considered 90 percent effective in terms of restoring sexual function.

          Treatment for penile fracture most often involves immediate surgery usually within 24 hours of the injury. 

          1. The surgeon creates a small incision in the skin to access the damaged areas or via a circumcising incision to deglove the so the can be visualized and repaired
            1. Stitches are used to reconnect areas of the tunica albuginea that are torn
            2. The doctor will make sure there are no tears in the urethra that also need to be addressed

              The goal is to make sure the ability to get an erection is restored and the penis heals in the proper way to avoid any kind of deformity.

              What to Expect During Recovery

              Depending on the severity of the injury and the type of surgery performed, recovery may involve a brief stay in the hospital, or you may go home right after surgery.

              In general, it is ideal if erections can be avoided during recovery.

              Medications may be prescribed to help reduce erections. Pain medication and antibiotics may also be prescribed.

              Most doctors will recommend waiting to resume sexual activity for at least a month or six weeks and then gradually easing back into sex or masturbation.

              Traction or stretch therapy may be recommended as well once adequate healing has occured.

              Every case can be unique, so it is important to talk to the doctor openly about what to expect and adhere to their instructions for your specific case.

              Other Frequently Asked Questions

              Can a penile fracture heal itself?

              A penile fracture should always be treated as an emergency and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

              It is possible for the fracture to heal on its own, especially if the fracture is not severe.

              However, the risk of the injury leading to a deformed erection, sexual dysfunction, or ongoing problems without treatment is extremely high.

              Permanent deformity of the penis is also a possibility, and a man could develop issues with erectile dysfunction.

              Seeking treatment is always the best option for penile fractures.

              How to avoid penile fracture?

              One of the most important things to do to avoid penile fractures is to be careful during either masturbation or intercourse.

              A few other tips that can help include:

              • Always make sure to use enough lubrication
              • Never try to force the erect penis into a tight area, such as a dry vagina or unlubricated anus.
              • Be careful with your penis during rough sex or especially vigorous masturbation

              Remember, pretty much anything you do that causes a bending force on an erection can potentially lead to injury.

              Be mindful of this because even accidentally rolling onto an erection while sleeping could lead to injury.

              Can you break your penis easier after it has already been broken?

              Re-fracturing the penis after one event is exceptionally rare or at least has not been well documented in the available medical literature.

              In fact, there have only been ten documented cases of recurrent penile fracture documented worldwide.

              Nevertheless, it is considered possible to refracture the penis, especially if aftercare instructions are not followed after surgery.

              In one of the few reports of penile re-fracture, a man actually sustained three penile fractures in the same area within a short time frame.

              The injuries were partially due to having sex too soon after surgery and continuing to practice vigorous sexual activity in spite of the risk of recurrent injury.

              It should be noted that recurrent fractures may be more likely in the same area once the penis has been fractured, even if the fracture was corrected with surgery.

              Takeaways

              The penis can tear, and when it does, this is a serious medical situation that should be addressed by a medical professional.

              Acting quickly after a penile fracture is the best way to avoid long-term problems, and surgery is commonly the first line of treatment.

              If you have sustained a penile fracture, follow the doctor's orders, avoid sex as recommended, and be sure to take care of the penis as much as possible.

              If you are looking for a way to keep the tissues of your penis healthy and support erections? Be sure to consider VitaFLUX for men, which promotes blood flow, recovery, libido, and more.

              Dr. Laurence Levine

              Dr. Laurence Levine

              ​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​

              Sources:

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              The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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