Q&A: I Tore My Frenulum. Should I Be Concerned?

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QUESTION: I recently realized that portions of my frenulum are detached from the tip of my penis and there's white scar tissue on the head of my penis and my foreskin. At times, I experience slight pain and irritation. Is the situation serious?

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Screaming Guy

Photo: kandyjaxx (flickr)

Some skin conditions, such as one called lichen sclerosus, can result in white tissue in painful or uncomfortable erections or difficulty retracting a man’s foreskin.

The frenulum is tissue on the midline of a man’s penis. It’s filled with blood vessels and, when torn during masturbation or sex with a partner, may result in a little bit of bleeding and pain or irritation.

At-Home Remedies

Often, men find that if they keep the cut clean, apply an over the counter antibiotic cream and avoid further irritation from partner sex or masturbation, that it will heal on its own within a week or two.

After it heals, most men find that they can comfortably return to an active sex life, without further pain or tearing. Men who have a more significant tear or pain, whose cut doesn’t seem to heal well, or who have concerns about the tear, should, of course, check in with their healthcare provider.

Skin Conditions

That said, there are other causes of white tissue on a man’s penis. Some skin conditions, such as one called lichen sclerosus, can result in white tissue in painful or uncomfortable erections or difficulty retracting a man’s foreskin.

Seeing a Doctor

We are not medical doctors and cannot diagnose you. However, given that you’ve noticed white patches of skin on your penis and that you sometimes experience painful irritation, we recommend that you make an appointment with a healthcare provider to discuss these symptoms. Either a general internist or a dermatologist should be able to help you. It is a good idea to talk with a doctor about these symptoms, rather than to ignore them, as some conditions worsen if they are left untreated.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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