What Causes a Bent Penis?

Medically Reviewed By Matt Coward, MD, FACS
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A curve or bend in your penis that goes from either side, upward or downward, when erect is common. However, if a bent penis is painful or causes issues during sex, it may be cause for concern. This article discusses the causes of a bent penis, also known as a curved erection or penile curvature. It also discusses other symptoms, when to contact a doctor, diagnosis, and treatment.

What causes a bent penis?

Younger male looking pensive
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It’s common for a penis to bend or curve to the right or left, upward or downward when erect. However, if your penis is significantly bent, is painful, or causes issues during sex, you may want to contact your doctor.

These may be signs of Peyronie’s disease, a condition that causes a curved erection. If you’ve always had a curve to your penis when it’s erect, there is generally nothing to be concerned about.

However, if you notice a change in your penis, it may be due to Peyronie’s disease.

Peyronie’s disease can happen at any age. However, it’s more common in those assigned male at birth over age 40.

Another possible cause of a bent penis is a penile fracture. Though uncommon, penile fractures are considered an emergency condition. They are typically due to trauma to the penis during sexual intercourse.

This happens when direct pressure on an erect penis causes the tunica albuginea, the part that contains erectile tissue, to rupture. A penile fracture can lead to long-term sexual or anatomical dysfunction if left untreated.

Read more about Peyronie’s disease.

What other symptoms may occur with a bent penis?

There are other symptoms you may experience along with a bent penis.

Other signs and symptoms of Peyronie’s disease include:

  • lumps on your penis
  • painful erections
  • issues during sex due to the curve or bend of your penis
  • soft erections
  • plaques or segments of scar tissue under the skin of your penis

Other symptoms of a penis fracture include:

  • discoloration of the shaft
  • a flaccid penis
  • an asymmetric erection
  • pain or tenderness
  • hourglass deformity or narrowing of part of the shaft when erect

Read about other causes of penis pain.

When should you see a doctor for a bent penis?

Contact your doctor if you notice your penis bending or curving when it has not always been that way. This may be a sign of Peyronie’s disease. If left untreated, Peyronie’s disease may worsen. Complications of Peyronie’s disease can include:

If you experience trauma during sexual intercourse that causes severe pain or any of the following, contact your doctor:

  • hearing a “pop” or “snap”
  • bruising of the penis or the surrounding area
  • bending or curving of the penis
  • experiencing an immediate decrease in your erection after hearing a “pop”
  • simulating the appearance of an eggplant

How is a bent penis diagnosed?

Your doctor may require only a physical exam to diagnose Peyronie’s disease. The plaques in your penis can often be felt even when the penis is not stiff. If your doctor feels they need to see the curve of your penis, they may inject it with a medication to make it stiff. Then they will take pictures to study.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend a dynamic ultrasound to see where the plaque is, how the blood flows in your penis, and check for a calcium buildup.

To diagnose a penis fracture, your doctor will ask about the injury and when it occurred. To see the extent of the trauma and rule out other possible diagnoses, they may also order imaging such as:

How is a bent penis treated?

The main treatment for a penis fracture is surgery. Surgical intervention for penile fractures should be prompt. Delays in treatment can lead to an increased risk of ED.

For Peyronie’s disease, there are surgical and nonsurgical options. However, some cases may not require treatment at all. The nonsurgical options include:

  • injections
  • oral medications
  • mechanical traction and vacuum devices
  • shockwave therapy

Surgical options for Peyronie’s disease include:

  • grafting
  • plication
  • device implantation, when Peyronie’s is combined with ED

Summary

It’s natural for many to have a curved erection. However, if your penis does not usually curve but begins to, contact your doctor. This may be a sign you’re developing Peyronie’s disease.

If you experience trauma that causes pain, bruising, and bending of the penis during sexual intercourse, seek medical care right away. This could be the result of a penis fracture, a condition that is considered an emergency.

If left untreated, both of these conditions can cause complications like ED.

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Medical Reviewer: Matt Coward, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 25
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