It’s natural to have some curvature to your penis. But penile curvature is a physical condition in which your penis curves when you have an erection. You may have had it for as long as you can remember, or it may develop slowly over time. Changes to your penis can affect you emotionally and even impact your relationship.
Penile curvature is a curve in your penis when you have an erection.
Your body is unique, and not all penises are the same size, shape or appearance. Your penis may be straight when you have an erection. But it’s also natural to have some curvature — your penis may curve up, down or to either side. You may be born with penis curvature, or it can develop later in life. However, it’s a good idea to see a healthcare provider if:
These could be signs of a more serious condition.
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Penile curvature typically ranges from 5 to 30 degrees. A 5-degree curve in your penis looks like when the hands of an analog clock read 9:13. A 30-degree curve looks like when the hands read 9:10.
Types of penile curvature include:
The main symptom of penile curvature is a curve or bend in your penis.
Other symptoms may include:
Penile curvature can also affect your mental health. It can affect you psychosocially (how other people affect your thoughts and emotions) and psychologically (how you think about yourself and your behavior). You may experience:
A slight curve to your penis is normal and somewhat expected. If you have a more pronounced curve, its cause isn’t always clear.
Healthcare researchers aren’t sure what causes congenital penile curvature. It may relate to one side of the penis being stretchier (more elastic) than the other.
Some researchers believe injuries to an erect penis may cause Peyronie’s disease. Injuries may occur:
Obvious injuries aren’t the most common cause of Peyronie’s disease. Smaller, unrecognized injuries during regular masturbation or sexual intercourse may also cause penile curvature.
No, penile curvature isn’t a symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you have penile curvature, you can’t spread it to another person.
No, penile curvature won’t affect your ability to have a biological child.
A healthcare provider can usually diagnose penile curvature by:
During the physical exam, they may need to look at your penis when you have an erection. They may give you an injection (vasoactive drug) that temporarily makes your penis erect.
A healthcare provider may order a penile duplex Doppler ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to show how blood flows through the blood vessels in your penis. It can reveal scarring. They might also use a goniometer. A goniometer is a tool that measures the curvature of an erect penis.
You may not need treatment if you have a slight curve that doesn’t hurt or prevent you from having sexual intercourse. If you need treatment, your healthcare provider will refer you to a urologist to discuss your options. A urologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in conditions that affect your urinary system and reproductive system. Your treatment options may include:
You shouldn’t try to straighten penile curvature on your own. Without the expertise of a healthcare provider, you could make the curve worse.
Penile curvature rarely goes away without treatment. In mild cases, your symptoms may go away on their own. But in severe cases, your symptoms may remain or slowly get worse. Talk to a healthcare provider if you’re worried about penile curvature.
You can’t prevent congenital penile curvature. But you can help reduce your risk of injuries to your penis that may lead to penile curvature.
As you age, your erections may get softer, or maintaining firmness may be more challenging. Softer erections have a greater risk of bending unexpectedly during sexual intercourse. Oral erectile dysfunction medications such as sildenafil (Viagra®), vardenafil (Levitra®) or tadalafil (Cialis®) increase blood flow to your penis. Greater blood flow to your penis helps maintain hard erections. These medications require a prescription, so it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider as soon as your erections become softer.
You can also help reduce injuries by exercising caution while having sexual intercourse:
It’s important to remember that it’s completely normal to have some penile curvature. Even if you have a curve that’s greater than 30 degrees, you may not need treatment if it doesn’t cause any symptoms or prevent you or your partner(s) from comfortably having sexual intercourse.
If you get treatment, it may take weeks or even months to see the curve decrease. This can be frustrating, especially if penile curvature prevents you from having sex. Don’t wait to seek treatment. The earlier you see a provider, the faster you’ll see improvement.
The following tips can help if you have penile curvature:
It’s a good idea to see a healthcare provider as soon as you notice changes to your penis, especially if it gradually worsens, causes pain or other symptoms or prevents you and your partner(s) from comfortably having sexual intercourse.
Go to the nearest emergency room if:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Having some curve to your penis is natural when you have an erection. It may curve up, down or to the left or right. This isn’t a problem as long as it doesn’t cause pain or prevent you from having sexual intercourse. Curvature may also develop over time, which can be alarming. Any changes to a sensitive area can make you feel insecure. You may even be hesitant to have sexual intercourse. It’s natural to have these feelings. But you don’t need to process these feelings on your own. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have concerns about penile curvature, especially if it causes pain or makes sex difficult or impossible. The sooner you talk to a provider, the sooner you can get a proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/08/2023.
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