Penile Fracture – Is That Even Possible?
A penile fracture may not be a very common health issue for most men. This, however, does not deny the fact that a lot of men suffer from it. The major concern is not the rate at which it occurs but rather how to prevent, detect or treat it when it occurs.
Fortunately for men, the penis is one of the least harmed organs, but it also tends to get injured. Generally speaking, a penile fracture refers to an injury to the penis that occurs especially during sex.
Aside from sexual intercourse and accidents, traumatic events can also lead to a fracture of the penis.
In this article, penis fracture and what to do when there’s a fracture will be discussed extensively.
An overview of the penis
The penis is a very flexible organ when inactive but can be rigid when active (erect) because it requires blood flow through its tissues to maintain erectile rigidity.
The Corpora Carvenosa, a tube in the penis, precipitates the erection of the penis and is tightly wrapped together by the “Tunica Albuginea.”
When the penis is aroused during sex, it is hard enough to penetrate the female vagina, where the “Urethra” acts as a means of ejaculation.
Due to the hardness of the penis when erect, chances are, the stretched tissues can be fractured if undue pressure is mounted on it.
What is a penile fracture?
Urologists regard the term “Penile Fracture” as a medical emergency that involves the tearing of the tubes in the penis responsible for erection.
Although the penis does not contain any bones, the penis can still be ruptured. If this happens, you need to get to a hospital as soon as possible and might probably need surgery. Quick treatment can help prevent permanent sexual and urinary problems (2).
Penile fracture is a rare but dramatic injury of the penis. Unlike a regular fracture, a penile fracture is not a break-in bone because the penis does not have one.
A penile fracture is an occurrence in which the outer sheath surrounding the erectile cylinders of the penis ruptures under the force of a strong blow to the erect penis (3).
It can also be caused by a tear in the tunica albuginea, the flexible sheath of tissue below the skin that allows the penis to increase in width and length.
Sometimes the erectile tissue beneath the tunica albuginea also ruptures. This is known as the corpus cavernosum(1).
Causes of penile fracture
As already stated, a fracture to the penis happens when there is a sudden trauma or a bending of the penis, which leads to the breaking of the tunica albuginea.
Studies have shown that vigorous or very rough sex is the most common cause of penile fracture in the United States. At the same time, cases in the Middle East are mostly self-inflicted due to the cultural beliefs and sexual education in those regions. However, in recent times, Middle Eastern cases have been proven to be caused by vigorous sex more than cultural excesses.
The most common causes of penile fractures are sexual intercourse and taqaandan.
This is the most common cause of penile fracture. At an erect state, the penis is rigid, strong, and bonelike. This makes it very prone to being ruptured.
A good example of how you can fracture the penis during sex is when the penis slips out of the vagina, forced back in but rather than going into the vagina, hits your partner’s body. This could make the penis bend while it’s still erect. When this occurs, you can feel a sharp pain, followed by a loud “popping” or “cracking” sound.
Aside from mistakenly plunging the penis to the body of your partner rather than inside the vagina, you can also rupture the penis when you practice rear-entry sex positions. When either of the above occurs, it can lead to the tear or rupture of the tunica albuginea.
The pain may last for a short or longer time, and this could cause blood to build up around the skin of the penis (hematoma), which could make the penis swollen or bruised, resulting in an Eggplant deformation.
Men in certain Middle Eastern cultures practice “taqaandan or penile cracking.” This involves grasping the shaft of the erect penis and bending the top until you hear an audible “click” sound. This is done for a variety of reasons, such as deflating an unwanted erection (1). This practice can cause excruciating pains and can lead to penile fracture.
If you reading from this region, you probably know what we are talking about.
Asides from the two causes we have discussed, other common causes of penile fracture include:
- Sports Injury
- Gunshot wounds
- Aggressive traumatic Masturbation
- Rolling recklessly on the bed
- Falling on an erect penis and
- Machine accidents.
How to know if your penis is fractured?
Because it is not a very frequent issue, the signs and symptoms of penile fracture may differ for different men. When a penis sheath is ruptured, it becomes swollen and seems to be purplish colored; research shows that it shares a resemblance with eggplant and this brought about what the Urologists call the “Eggplant Deformation.”
What signs and symptoms should you look out for?
- Immediate severe pain in the penis.
- Discoloration of the penis.
- Swelling of the penis shaft.
- Difficulty in urination.
- A loud popping or cracking sound.
- Blood leakage from the penis or in urine
- Darkened bruises around the injured part.
- Deformation of the penis or bent penis.
- Swift loss of erection.
A penile fracture can also injure the urethra, which serves as a urinary tract, and this could cause blood in the urine.
What next after detecting symptoms?
It is a medical condition, so when you notice such symptoms, it is advisable to see a medical doctor, preferably a urologist. This fracture is considered an emergency because it can affect your urinary and sexual ability. The faster you seek medical care, the closer you get to a full recovery.
A doctor confirms the condition based on the circumstances and cause of the incident. If a doctor cannot confirm the medical condition, a medical imaging study is carried out to confirm the medical condition.
Such imaging study includes:
- A special X-ray, called Cavernosography, requires injecting a special dye into the blood vessels of the penis. This dye is injected into the urethra through the tip of the penis. This x-ray reveals any damage or abnormalities the surgeon will need to know before the penis undergoes any form of repair.
- A penile ultrasound, in which the internal structure of the penis is imaged with sound waves.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a scanner that uses a magnetic field and radio-energy pulses to create detailed images of the inside of the penis (1). This is carried out when the condition could not be identified by ultrasound.
Treatments for a penile fracture include home remedies and surgery.
Home remedies include:
- Application of cloth-covered ice packs for 10 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
- The use of a Foley catheter to empty the bladder and reduce trauma to the penis.
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and swelling.
Occasionally, doctors recommend wrapping the penis or wearing special “splints” to position the penis in a way that reduces pressure(2). This treatment has resulted in a high rate of complicated conditions such as the inability to obtain an erection. As a result, Doctors highly recommend surgery.
In the case of surgery, most penile fractures require immediate surgical attention. According to research, surgery results in better outcomes for men with penile fractures.
During surgery, the tear in the tunica albuginea and corpus cavernosum is stitched up. The most common surgery is to cut around the shaft near the head of the penis and pull back the skin to the base to check the inner surface. The surgeon then removes blood clots to help find any tears in the tunica albuginea. Any tears are repaired before the skin is sewn back together.
And like most surgeries, it is carried out under the effect of anesthesia to avoid the feeling of pain on your part. A catheter (a thin tube) may be placed through the urethra into the bladder to drain urine and allow the penis to heal.
What happens after surgery?
The recovery process
After surgery, it is expected that you take at least a day’s rest or more. Avoid sexual intercourse for at least a month. Regular intake of medically prescribed drugs such as pain medication and antibiotics aids recovery.
The healing of the stitches takes a couple of months. During this period, you are expected to take a series of follow-up tests and imaging studies to properly examine the healing progress, the assessment of blood flow, and the veins and arteries in the penis.
The after recovery process
Most injuries heal up without stress after surgery. However, there are cases where problems arise.
Such Problems include:
- Erectile dysfunction (due to blockage of the nerve or blood flow to the penis)
- Priapism (the penis becomes stiff and stays hard to the point of pain)
- Curved penis (Peyronie’s disease) after the wound has healed. (3)
How to prevent fracture of your penis
Though a rare and treatable condition, your best bet is to try as much as possible to avoid penile fracture.
You should observe the following to mitigate the advent of penile fracture:
- Most penile fractures that occur during sex happen when the woman is on top, rocking too hard and too fast, too forward, or too backward. So you need to inform your partner of the possibility of a penile fracture if she is a lover of vigorous sex. Make sure she is aware to avoid putting too much weight on you.
- During sex, when the penis slips out, stop thrusting at once.
- Avoid thrusting the penis in tight underwear.
- Practice constant and proper lubrication of the penis as often as possible.
- To prevent the rupture of the tunica albuginea, you have to be careful on the job, especially where machinery is involved. Adhere to both gun and driving safety protocol.
- Avoid placing a rubber tube or other constricting device around the base of the penis that is too tight or left on for too long, as this can also injure the penis.
- Rings or other stiff objects (such as plastic or metal) should never be placed around the penis. These objects can become stuck if the penis swells further and can cause lasting damage to the penis if the blood flow is blocked for too long.
- The urethra and/or penis may also be damaged if objects are put into the tip of the penis(3).
The penis, despite being volatile, is also vulnerable to injury such as a fracture. The major cause of penile fracture is “vigorous sex” and the “forceful bending of the penis,” referred to as Taqaanda. Recklessly rolling over the erect penis on the bed, sharp blows such as car accidents, football accidents, etc., can also make the penis fracture. Its symptoms are easily detectable, and the safest treatment is surgery. Home remedies should be avoided as this can make the issue more complicated.
Fortunately, penile fractures can be prevented when you adhere to the preventive measures, which include avoiding forceful impact on the penis, such as taqaandan, rolling recklessly on the bed, etc.
According to Urologists, the penile fracture is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. You should not take it lightly because when 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) (4).