What Causes Penis Swelling? | Moorgate Andrology

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What Causes Penis Swelling?

penis swelling

Many things cause penis swelling. If you have penile swelling, your penis may look red and irritated and the area might feel sore or itchy. The swelling can occur with or without unusual discharge, foul odour, or bumps. These symptoms could make it difficult to urinate or have sexual intercourse.


Since there are many causes for a swollen penis, it’s important to pay attention to other symptoms. This will help your doctor determine the underlying cause. In rare cases, a swollen penis is a medical emergency. Conditions like priapism or paraphimosis require immediate help. Read on to learn the common causes of penile swelling.


Swollen Penis Causes

Penile swelling is a symptom of a health condition rather than a condition itself. It usually shows up with other symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Possibly underlying causes include:



Balanitis is a common cause of penile swelling. It occurs when the penis head, also called the glans, is inflamed. About 3-11% of males will experience balanitis in their lifetime. The condition usually affects uncircumcised males with poor hygiene habits. Recurring balanitis is associated with poorly managed diabetes and immunodeficiency. Common symptoms include:


  • Redness
  • Shiny, thick skin
  • Itchiness
  • Foul odour
  • Painful urination
  • Sores
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
  • Smegma


Allergic or Irritant Reaction

Another cause of penile swelling is contact dermatitis. This involves an allergic or nonallergic reaction to an irritating substance, such as:


  • Latex condoms
  • Propylene glycol in lubricants
  • Spermicides
  • Chemicals in soaps or lotions
  • Chlorine


In addition to the swelling, you may have:


  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Bumps
  • Blisters
  • Burning


If you think you are allergic or sensitive to something, stop using it immediately.



Inflammation of the urethra, known as urethritis, can cause penile swelling. The urethra carries urine from your bladder to your penis. Globally, urethritis affects 4 million people every year. Typically, urethritis is a result of an STI. Neisseria Gonorrhoeae bacteria, as well as nongonococcal bacteria, can cause it. Less common causes include irritating chemicals or injury from a urinary catheter. Other symptoms include:


  • Painful urination
  • Burning during urination
  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Whitish yellow discharge

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure you contact your GP and get it treated.

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