5th March, 20214 min read

Can you break your penis?

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You can break an arm or a leg, or any part of the body with bones, but what about a penis? Well, while there are no bones in the penis, you can still get a broken penis.

There are 2 tubes inside your penis, which fill with blood when you get an erection. The lining of one of the tubes can burst, and this is known as a penis ‘fracture’.

Read on to find out how a penis can break and how it’s treated.

What is a penis fracture?

The penis has 3 main parts: the glans, body and base.

The glans is the end of your penis, often known as the head, and contains the opening that you wee and come (ejaculate) out of (urethra). The body (or shaft) is the length of the penis, which swells when you get an erection, and the base is the part that attaches to the skin at the top of your ball sack (scrotum).

A ‘fracture’ can happen in the body of the penis. This contains 2 tube-like structures, which fill with extra blood when you’re aroused to give you an erection. A fracture is when the covering of one of these tubes tears or bursts and blood comes out inside the penis.

What causes a penis fracture?

A penis can break if it’s violently bent. This can happen during vigorous sex – for example, if it slips out of your partner and hits their pelvic bone.

The risk can increase if you have sex with your partner on top, and it’s thought that about a third of cases of penis fracture happen this way.

Other common causes include falls or other accidents that lead to a sharp blow to the erect penis, and traumatic masturbation.

Penis fracture symptoms

The main symptoms of a broken penis are severe pain, swelling, and bruising, which will come on as soon as the damage has happened.

You may hear a popping or snapping sound and your penis may look bent or deformed. Other symptoms include blood leaking from your penis and difficulty weeing.

If you suspect your penis is broken, seek emergency medical help.

How is a penis fracture treated?

A possible penis fracture needs immediate medical attention. Quick treatment will help reduce the risk of permanent damage, which can lead to problems weeing and having sex.

A doctor will check if it's a fracture by examining you and may need to do some imaging tests, such as a special X-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan. You may also need urinary tests to see if your urethra has been damaged, which happens in around a third of cases.

You’ll probably need surgery right away, which will involve stitches to close the tear. Afterwards, you may stay in hospital for 1 to 3 days, where you’ll be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics.

After surgery, your penis can take months to fully heal and you’ll have follow-up appointments to check on your progress. You shouldn’t have sex for at least a month, but it’s best to talk to your doctor about what you can do during your recovery.

How can you avoid penis fracture?

Although penis fractures are relatively rare, any sudden force on an erect penis has the potential to cause damage – so it’s best to treat it gently.

Be careful if you have vigorous sex, and always make sure you have enough lubrication during sex.

Key points

  • there are no bones in the penis, but it’s possible to ‘break’ your penis
  • penis fracture happens if the lining of one of the tubes that fill with blood when you have an erection burst
  • it can be caused by excessive bending during sex
  • the main symptoms are immediate pain, swelling and bruising
  • if you think you have a penis fracture, get emergency medical help

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.