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Numb Penis: Causes and Best Treatments

7 min read
Numb Penis: Causes and Best Treatments

If you’ve experienced the sensitivity of the penis first-hand, you’ll know how great it feels when it’s stimulated. Sensory information refers to things that give our brain information about the world around us such as pain, temperature, and touch. Penile sensory information plays a crucial role in reproduction, and while penile sensitivity is a good thing for many, individuals with sensitivity issues may feel differently.

Penile numbness can deprive men of experiencing the sensitivity of their penis in all its glory.


A numb penis can be a result of numerous influences including lifestyle habits and medical issues. Having a numb penis may affect an individual’s enjoyment of intimacy and their sex life. This article takes an in-depth look at the causes of penile numbing and what can be done about it.

TLDR Summary

  • Penile numbness results in reduced or no sensitivity, affecting sexual enjoyment and intimacy.
  • Common symptoms of a numb penis include a change in skin color, temperature changes, tingling, and lack of stimulation during sex.
  • Causes of penile numbness range from low testosterone, injuries, prolonged sitting, and cycling, to drug use, Peyronie's disease, nerve damage, and medical complications.
  • Testosterone deficiencies, specifically from conditions like male hypogonadism, can affect penile sensitivity.
  • Prolonged sitting and activities like cycling can lead to pudendal nerve injury and contribute to numbness.
  • Treatments for penile numbness vary based on the cause, including seeking medical advice, lifestyle changes, and selecting non-allergenic products.
  • While many can recover full penile sensitivity, it's vital to consult a medical professional for concerns about penile numbing.

What is a numb penis?

A numb penis is when an individual loses penile sensitivity. When someone’s penis becomes numb, the sensation they expect to feel when their penis is touched may be reduced or entirely absent. As penile stimulation is crucial for men in a sexual capacity, individuals with penile numbness may find it inhibits their sex life.

What are the most common numb penis symptoms?

The most prevalent symptom for individuals with penile numbing is a feeling of nothingness in the penis. You may have experienced a similar numbness if you’ve ever laid on your arm for too long. Numbing of the penis can almost feel as if it’s gone to sleep. Some other symptoms of a numb penis include the following:

SYMPTOMS

DESCRIPTION

Change of color in the skin

- Individuals with penile numbness might notice changes in the color of their penis.

- It’s possible that it may turn a shade of blue.

    Burn / Cold Sensation

    - A numb penis may lead to a feeling of change in penile temperature.

    - This can include feeling like the penis is either hotter or colder than expected.

      Tingling Feeling

      - A tingling feeling can appear as a result of penile numbness.

      - This may feel similar to the ‘pins and needles feeling you experience in other parts of the body.

        A lack of stimulation during sex

        - With a reduced feeling in the penis, individuals may find that they notice a loss of stimulation during sexual intimacy.

        Main causes of numb penis

        Various factors can lead to penile numbness which can include medical conditions and even hobbies. We've broken down some of the most common causes of penile numbness below.

        Low testosterone

        Testosterone is a sex hormone that has a large influence on male development during puberty. The hormone is responsible for the development of the genitalia, hair growth, and deepening of the voice. Testosterone deficiencies can affect an individual’s sex drive, and mood and may also have an impact on their penile sensitivity.

        One specific cause of low testosterone is male hypogonadism.

        This condition is caused by the testicles failing to produce enough testosterone. Some of the symptoms of hypogonadism include erectile dysfunction (ED) and loss of sensation in the penis.

        Diagram on the Main Symptoms of Low Testosterone

        Penis injuries

        Injuries to the penis such as fractures can result in a loss of sensitivity and penile numbing. Penile fracturing may occur as a result of strain during sex or masturbation as well as from sports injuries.

        A retrospective review was carried out consisting of individuals who suffered penile fractures between 2009 and 2015. It found that during a follow-up consisting of 40 patients (all of whom reported regular erectile function prior to fracture), 3 patients reported paresthesia (tingling sensations) or numbness.

        Sitting for too long

        Taking a seat when you need to rest feels great but too much of anything can be a bad thing. A study found that on average (across all countries) we spend 4.7 hours sitting down each day.

        Individuals who spend large amounts of their day sitting could be at an increased risk of experiencing penile numbness.

        A review that aimed to highlight the role of pudendal neuralgia (pain caused by damage to the main nerve in the pelvis) on sexual dysfunction found that prolonged sitting may put individuals at risk of pudendal nerve injury. It went on to state that pudendal nerve injury may be linked to penile numbness as well as ED.

        Bike riding

        Riding a bike is a pastime that offers many benefits including improved cardiovascular fitness. If you've been on a long bike ride, you may have experienced the numbness that can occur from sitting on a bike seat for long periods.

        This numbness can go beyond temporary numbing of the buttocks and may extend to penile numbing. A study examined 260 participants in a 540 km bicycle tour. Through a questionnaire, it was found that 33 respondents reported a numb penis and hypaesthesia. Another study explored groin numbness in a cycling police unit. Findings showed that 91% of cyclists who rode over 5 hours per day had reported groin numbness.

        Irritation on the skin

        As with other body parts, the skin on your penis is susceptible to irritation. The male penis is likely to come into contact with a variety of hygiene products, condoms, and lubricants. Some of the ingredients used in these products could cause skin reactions and may lead to penile numbness.

        Balanitis is one of the most common penile inflammations and can be a result of contact with soaps that irritate the penis or cause allergies.

        Balanitis can cause burning, itchiness, or swelling of the penis.

        Drug use

        Loss of sensitivity in the penis can be an unwanted result of drug use. Types of drugs that can cause penile numbness include medication administered for mental health issues and pain relief.

        Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used to treat depression. Side effects of these drugs have been reported to include penile anesthesia. Lidocaine is an anesthetic used in penile numbing sprays to treat premature ejaculation. When used incorrectly, numbing sprays may result in the penis becoming so numb, that individuals are unable to achieve an erection.

        Peyronie's Disease

        Peyronie’s disease is a penile disorder where plaque forms in the penis, causing deformities and changes (curvature) to its shape. Although it was once considered a rare condition it may now affect up to 13% of men.

        The disease can be treated through surgical procedures which aim to correct the curvature of the penis and maintain a satisfactory penile length. However, penile numbness is one of the potential risks of the surgery. Further risks include erectile dysfunction, increased penile curvature, and shortening of the penis.

         

        Nerve damage

        Nerve damage (known as neuropathy) can occur as a result of injury and affect a variety of body parts such as the arms, hands, and feet. One of the side effects of nerve damage is a numbing or tingling sensation in the affected region.

        The penis is an area that’s less known for its susceptibility to nerve damage.

        However, neuropathy can result in the loss of penile sensation. An example of this is the diminished penile sensitivity individuals may experience when damage occurs to the dorsal branch of the pudendal nerve.

        Medical Complications

        The male anatomy consists of interrelated parts such as the penis, testicles, and prostate. When medical issues arise in these areas surgery may be a required treatment. In some instances, treatments for one part of the male anatomy can cause complications elsewhere.

        Penile numbing is a complication that can arise as a result of prostate brachytherapy (a treatment for prostate cancer). Although this complication may be rare, a 68 year old developed complete numbing of the penis 3 days after undergoing the operation. Fortunately, the numbness was temporary as the individual made a full recovery of penile sensation 9 days post-operation.

        Best Numb Penis Treatments

        Given the array of causes for penile numbness, the appropriate treatment will vary case by case. In some instances, time may be an effective healer for penile numbness but always consult a medical professional if you are concerned about penile numbing.

        The table below highlights potential treatment options based on the condition/cause of penile numbness.

        Condition/Cause
        Treatment
        - Peyronie's disease, nerve damage, penile injuries, medical complications
              - Seek medical advice on whether medication or surgery can resolve the issue.

                - In mild cases, penile sensitivity may return without the need for treatment.
                  - Low testosterone
                    - Check testosterone levels, consider lifestyle changes or testosterone replacement therapy to supplement hormonal deficiencies
                      - Prolonged sitting, cycling
                          - Reduce the time you spend sitting and consider changing seating equipment to ergonomic options.
                            - Drug use
                              - Consult a medical professional for advice on your reaction to the drug and the appropriate steps to take.
                                - Skin reaction
                                  - Opt for hygiene products, condoms and lubricants made of non-allergenic and non-numbing ingredients.

                                  - Consult a medical professional if necessary

                                      Will you ever regain feeling in your penis?

                                      The ability to regain the sensation in your penis will depend on the cause of the numbness, the severity, and your accessibility to the treatment required. However, it’s possible for men to make a full recovery from a numb penis. Our earlier reference to the 68-year-old who experienced penile numbing after prostate surgery is a good example of someone recovering full penile sensitivity after losing it.

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                                      Summary

                                      Penile numbing can lead to men losing some or even all of the sensitivity in their penis. The condition can have a number of causes including low testosterone, penile or nerve damage, and sitting for prolonged periods.

                                      Although this article is intended to be informative, it cannot be considered a substitute for medical advice

                                      The appropriate treatment for a numb penis depends entirely on its cause but some possible options include lifestyle changes, medical assistance, and recovery over time.

                                      Although this article is intended to be informative, it cannot be considered a substitute for medical advice. If you believe you are experiencing a numb penis or any other health issue, consult a medical professional.

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