It is common for a penis to curve slightly, and it typically causes no problems. However, if a person has a penis curve that causes pain or difficulty when having sex, they may wish to consider treatments.

The penis is the male sex organ, and its primary functions include reproduction and urination. As with any other body part, penises can vary in length, girth, and appearance. Some penises are completely straight when erect, while many others curve upward, downward, or to the side.

Penile curvature may be a worry for some people. However, slight curvature is common, and may be desirable and more compatible with some prospective partners.

Penile curvature that does not usually cause discomfort is normal. People typically notice curvature during puberty or early adulthood. However, a curved penis that occurs suddenly, worsens over time, or causes painful erections may require medical attention.

In this article, we will discuss the potential causes, symptoms, and treatment options for a curved penis.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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A curved penis is a physical condition where a bend occurs in the penis during an erection. It may be present from birth or develop later in life. Some people may refer to penile curvature as bent penis, fibrous penis, and Peyronie’s disease.

Penile curvature is common and typically does not affect functionality. In a 2018 Australian study, roughly 1 in 5 males reported a curve in their penis. Of those, only 1 in 6 males noted an adverse impact of penile curvature in their lives, complaining of pain or discomfort when they had an erection.

A curved penis is normal, and many people have a slight bend or curve in their penis. A person may first notice the curve during puberty, or may recognize it as always being slightly curved.

A significant curve may cause pain or discomfort when a person has an erection, and can occur due to a congenital or acquired condition.

Peyronie’s disease

Peyronie’s disease is a condition where fibrous scar tissue, also known as plaques, forms under the skin anywhere on the penis. These hard plaques can be painful and cause the penis to curve during erections.

According to the Urology Care Foundation, Peyronie’s disease affects about 4 out of 100 men between the ages of 40–70 years. Other evidence notes that 0.5% of adult American males receive a diagnosis of Peyronie’s disease.

While the condition can affect males of any age, research suggests that males in their 60s are most commonly affected. The actual number of cases may be higher, as some people with Peyronie’s disease may feel embarrassed and choose not to get help.

Experts do not know the exact cause of Peyronie’s disease. It is possible that a past penile injury (such as during sex, sports, a fall, or car accident) could cause the condition. An underlying autoimmune disease may also lead to Peyronie’s disease.

Although Peyronie’s disease rarely goes away on its own, it may stabilize 12–18 months after the symptoms first appear.

Congenital penile curvature

Congenital penile curvature, or chordee, is a rare condition that is present from birth. The exact cause is unknown, however, it results from the penis not developing in a typical way in the womb. It may involve elastic tissue, tethering, or scar tissue causing a noticeable curve.

Hypospadias may also occur with congenital penile curvature. Hypospadias is where the tube through which urine leaves the body is not at the tip of the penis.

Autoimmune conditions

Autoimmune conditions are when the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy tissues. Peyronie’s disease is associated with autoimmune conditions such as lupus, Behçet’s syndrome, and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Penile fracture

A penile fracture happens when an erect penis bends forcefully and suddenly. As the penis has no bones, penile fracture is an uncommon injury caused by rupturing thick tissue inside the penis called the tunica albuginea.

Most penile fractures occur with direct trauma during sexual intercourse. Other causes may include:

  • vigorous masturbation
  • falling or rolling over onto an erect penis
  • injury to the penis from sports, a car accident, or direct physical trauma
  • quickly putting on or taking off clothing when the penis is erect

Connective tissue disorders

Connective tissue supports and joins tissues and organs in the body, such as the joints, muscles, and skin. Connective tissue disorders associated with curved penis include:

Risk factors

Potential risk factors of developing a curved penis may include:

  • past surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer
  • engaging in vigorous sexual activities
  • history of connective tissue and autoimmune disorders
  • family history of Peyronie’s disease
  • older age
  • having diabetes and erectile dysfunction

Other than a bend in the penis, symptoms of a significant penile curvature may vary depending on the condition.

For example, penile trauma symptoms may also include:

  • a sudden snapping, popping, or cracking sound at the time of injury
  • a quick loss of erection
  • immediate pain and swelling in the penis
  • purplish discoloration and bruising of the penis and genital area
  • blood at the tip of the penis

With Peyronie’s disease, the curvature may occur suddenly or gradually. Additional symptoms of Peyronie’s disease can include:

  • flat, hard lumps under the skin on one or more sides of the penis
  • the penis significantly curving to one side with or without an erection
  • narrowing or shortening of the penis
  • painful erections
  • erectile dysfunction
  • inability to penetrate a sexual partner

Healthcare professionals can diagnose the cause of a curved penis by taking a detailed history and performing a physical exam of the penis.

A clinician will likely refer the individual to a urologist. A urologist is a doctor who specializes in treating male reproductive conditions such as a curved penis.

The doctor may also order an imaging scan of the penis, such as a penile ultrasound, to help determine the extent of injury or disease in some cases.

A mildly curved penis that does not cause discomfort requires no treatment. When a curved penis causes pain, sexual dysfunction, or urinary problems, treatment is usually necessary.

Doctors base treatment for a curved penis on the severity of the symptoms and underlying conditions. They may try a combination of treatment options, including:

According to current research, the greatest treatment benefits for a curved penis is with a combination of oral, topical, injection, and traction therapies.

If a person does not experience pain during an erection and the curvature does not prevent them from having intercourse, it is unlikely that they require any medical treatment.

However, it is advisable for a person to contact their doctor if they develop any symptoms of Peyronie’s disease, penile pain, sudden worsening of their usual penis curvature, or their curvature leads to symptoms of anxiety or depression.

If a person experiences penile trauma, it is essential that they receive immediate treatment. A penile fracture requires early surgical repair to avoid potential complications in sexual and urinating abilities.

A slightly curved penis is normal, and can be more desirable to some. If the curvature does not cause pain or impact the ability to urinate or have sexual intercourse, a person does not require treatment.

Penile curvature can be present at birth or may develop over time. Many conditions or injuries can affect the shape of the penis. It is advisable for a person to contact a healthcare professional if a curved penis develops suddenly, gradually worsens, or causes severe pain or difficulty with sex or urination.