The tip of the penis — the glans — is a particularly sensitive part of the male anatomy, especially in uncircumcised men. It should not, however, be incredibly uncomfortable to the touch, to the point of actually being painful. Should your glans be so hypersensitive that you are experiencing pain, something is wrong, and seeing a doctor is in order.
Balanitis: An Inflammation Of The Glans
Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans that also often affects the foreskin in men who have one. Symptoms include red, swollen, and sensitive skin around the area, a skin rash on the rest of the penis, itching, discharge under the foreskin, and a foul odor.
Balanitis can be caused by contact with an irritating substance (including certain soaps), in which case it is the manifestation of contact dermatitis. It can also be the sign of an underlying skin condition such as eczema, or be caused by various infections, ranging from yeast infections to streptococcus or a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or genital herpes.
In some cases, balanitis simply results from being too rough with your penis over a period of time, and in other cases, no cause can be found.
The treatment for balanitis depends on its underlying cause. Sometimes, it's more than enough to stop using irritating cosmetics or giving your penis a break from any sexual activity.
Phimosis (A Tight Foreskin)
Phimosis is a medical condition in which the foreskin is too tight to be pulled over the glans of the penis. This, too, can lead to an overly sensitive glans, as the foreskin rubs against it during normal daily activities. Paraphimosis is a related condition where the foreskin can't be returned to its original position after retraction, often leading to an inflamed and painful glans (balanitis).
While repeated gentle retraction of the foreskin can sometimes ease phimosis, adult men suffering from a very tight foreskin may need surgery to correct the associated adhesions, or may even require a therapeutic adult circumcision.
Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that mainly affects the genitals and that occurs more frequently in women. Men can be affected too, however, and when they are, symptoms include itchy, white patches of skin, particularly around the glans of the penis, along with a thickening glans. This, in turn, leads to difficulty retracting the foreskin in uncircumcised men, and to pain and increased sensitivity.
Lichen sclerosus is a progressive disease that requires careful monitoring — it has been associated with an increased risk of penile cancer in men. Where necessary, surgery is recommended.
Other Causes Of A Hypersensitive Glans
Urethritis, an inflammation of the urethra, is another possible cause of a sensitive glans. If you have urethritis, you'll also likely have pain during urination and sexual intercourse. A course of antibiotics usually treats the problem.
Peyronie's Disease is a connective tissue disorder that leads to abnormal curvature of the penis, along with an abnormally sensitive glans. It can be treated with medication or surgically, though many cases improve spontaneously over time.
A hypersenstive glans can also, in some cases, be caused by psychological factors including sexual aversion disorder. Therapy is the way to deal with this.
I'd advise any man who is suffering from persistent oversensitivity of the glans to the point of pain to seek medical attention. Explain what's going on to your doctor, and depending on what is happening, you might walk away with a course of antibiotics or a referral to the appropriate specialist.
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