The penis is a closely guarded treasure; most men take great pains to avoid any sort of injury to the delicate equipment. But bumps and bruises are a part of life, and even the best-protected member is likely to run into a solid object - a misplaced knee or football, or even a partner’s body - from time to time. The resulting penile bruising and pain can be alarming, and for good reason: A serious penis injury can cause disfiguration and even loss of function if not treated properly. Fortunately, most injuries are not serious, and at-home penis care may be all that is needed to manage any pain and swelling - but it is always advisable to check in with a doctor when bruising does occur.

Causes of penile bruising

1) Trauma. Perhaps the most common, and the most obvious, cause of penile bruising is blunt-force trauma - in other words, impact with a solid object. While the resulting bruising is usually superficial, a heavy blow to the area can result in deep tissue damage that can lead to long-term problems, so it is best not to ignore this type of injury. To minimize the chance of experiencing trauma to the penis, men should wear the proper protective gear for any type of athletic activity. Extremely aggressive thrusting and bending or twisting moves should be avoided during partner sex.

2) Masturbation. Self-inflicted damage is also fairly common. Men who use a tight grip and/or bending and twisting motions during manual stroking may be susceptible to bruising of the penile tissue, as are those who thrust into a bed, cushion or other object during masturbation.

3) Priapism. This is a serious medical condition in which men experience a persistent erection that is not caused by sexual stimulation. Usually, it is the result of an injury to the groin area that causes blood to become trapped inside the penis. The resulting erection can be quite painful, and it may be accompanied by bruising. Priapism should be treated as a medical emergency; failure to seek treatment can result in penile tissue death.

4) Injection of medications or illicit substances. Men who have prescription medications injected into the penis for treatment of erectile dysfunction may develop bruising around the injection site; the same issue may affect men who inject recreational substances into the penis.

5) Clothing entrapment. If the penis becomes trapped in a zipper or other part of a man’s clothing, bruising to the site may occur. This is generally not serious and can be treated at home.

At-home treatment for a sore, bruised penis

A penis injury that results in pain, swelling, bruising or any other noticeable symptoms should always be checked by a doctor, even if it seems fairly minor; if penile bruising develops without any obvious injury, immediate medical attention is required. Once the problem has been diagnosed and treated, there are several things that men can do at home to help reduce any swelling, minimize the discoloration of bruising and ease the pain:

- Apply cool compresses to the penis. A soft washcloth or towel soaked in cool water and applied to the penis for 20 minutes at a time can help ease discomfort and reduce swelling. Ice should never be placed on the penis.

- Add heat. On the second day after an injury, a warm compress, rather than a cool one, can be applied to the bruised area. This can help draw blood to the area to slough away the damaged tissue and speed the healing process.

- Try over-the-counter pain relievers. For more intense pain, some men may want to try an NSAID (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) to take the edge off. Keep in mind that some pain relievers may interact with other medications, so always check with a doctor first.

- Follow up with a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). A nutrient formula that contains a rich mix of vitamins and amino acids - especially vitamin C, which is needed for the growth of healthy circulatory tissue - can help support the healing process, as well as improve the general look and feel of the manhood.