Breaking Bad: What You Need To Know About Penile Fracture

Andrew Siegel MD   1/24/15

The French term for a broken penis is faux pas du coit. Everything sounds more elegant in French, oiu? Call it what you want, this is one mishap you want to avoid!


(I took the above photo at Alcazar Palace in Seville, Spain)

What Is It?

Penile fracture is a rare urological emergency that requires prompt surgical repair. It is a dramatic occurrence that most often happens during sexual intercourse in which the tough sheath surrounding the erection chambers of the penis ruptures under the force of a strong blow to the erect penis. It is similar to the tire of a car being driven forcibly into a curb, resulting in a gash in the tread and an immediate flat tire. Even though there is no bone in the human penis, the term fracture is appropriate because the outer sheath cracks, resulting in a broken erection chamber of the penis.

How Does It Happen?

A flaccid penis is rarely traumatized. However, when a penis is erect, there is major tension on the sheath surrounding the erectile chambers. A penile fracture occurs when this outer tunic—already under internal stretch and tension by virtue of the expansion of the erection chambers—is further subjected to external blunt trauma. This usually occurs with vigorous sexual intercourse, most often when the penis slips out of the vagina and strikes the perineum (area between the vagina and anus) or the pubic bone, resulting in a buckling injury.

In other words, she “zigs” and he “zags,” and a forcible miss-stroke occurs, which ruptures the outer sheath housing the erection chambers. Fracture can also with rough masturbation, rolling over or falling onto the erect penis, and walking into a wall in a poorly lit room.

In Iran the practice of Taqaandan (Kurdish “to click”) is a cause of penile fractures. This is the practice of creating an audible click by bending the erect penis, comparable to cracking one’s knuckles, but not as harmless.

How Do You Know If You Have Fractured Your Penis?

It is a dramatic event…A popping sound occurs as the outer sheath ruptures, followed by excruciating pain, rapid loss of the erection, and purplish discoloration and extreme swelling of the penis, as the blood within the erection chambers escapes through the rupture site into the soft tissues of the penis.

MRI is useful to show the site, extent and anatomy of the fracture. Prompt repair in the operating room is important to maintain erectile function and minimize scarring of the erection chambers that could result in angulated erections. An injury to the urethra that accompanies the tear in the erectile sheath occurs in a small percentage of men. Even with immediate surgical repair, up to 20% of men will experience a penile curvature with erections and more than 30% will experience ED.

Bottom Line: Penile fracture most commonly occurs from a miss-stroke during sexual intercourse. Prompt attention with surgical repair is very important to help prevent sexual issues.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29


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Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback:

Private Gym: -available on Amazon as well as Private Gym website

The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that provides the resources to properly strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are vital to sexual and urinary health. The program builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized exercises for women to increase pelvic strength and tone. This FDA registered program is effective, safe and easy-to-use: The “Basic Training” program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and the “Complete Program” provides maximum opportunity for gains through its patented resistance equipment.

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2 Responses to “Breaking Bad: What You Need To Know About Penile Fracture”

  1. Concussions: Big Head/Little Head | Our Greatest Wealth Is Health Says:

    […] Acute trauma is rare, but on occasion superficial veins can rupture, resulting in penile bruising and swelling that gets patients into my office in a real hurry. Rarer and more dramatic is the fractured penis that occurs when he “zigs” and she “zags,” resulting in a forceable miss-stroke and a serious injury that requires emergency surgery (previously covered in another blog:😉 […]

  2. When Rough Sex Clots Off a Penile Vein | Our Greatest Wealth Is Health Says:

    […] trauma may run the gamut from chafing, bruising, and swelling to clotting of penile veins and penile fracture.  Chronic sex-induced penile trauma is thought to be the underlying cause of Peyronie’s […]

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