The Independent Pharmacy

Common Signs That You May Have Erectile Tissue Damage

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2024

Erectile dysfunction can feel incredibly frustrating and may bring feelings of embarrassment, but it’s important to remember you’re not alone and support is available. It happens when a man has trouble getting or keeping an erection firm enough for sexual activity. One potential cause is damage to the erectile tissue in the penis. This specialised tissue fills up with blood during arousal, causing an erection. If the tissue becomes damaged, it may make achieving or maintaining erections difficult.

Some common signs of erectile tissue damage include:

  • Difficulty getting or keeping a firm erection
  • Changes in the shape or angle of erections
  • Pain, numbness or discomfort in the penis
  • Problems with ejaculation

These issues can have physical and emotional effects on men. The good news is that many treatment options exist, from medications to surgery. And taking preventive steps may help avoid further injury.

Let’s dive deeper into the common symptoms, underlying issues, and solutions around damaged erectile tissue.

Key Findings:

  • Notice erection changes like less firmness or unusual bending, which signal possible inner penis tissue injury needing prompt doctor evaluation.
  • Discomfort, numbness or sudden pain during arousal also warrants medical checks to assess damage before permanent scarring sets in.
  • Various treatment options like medications, devices or surgery can resolve symptoms and restore sexual abilities if applied early before extensive internal blockage develops.
  • In addition to physical issues, emotional and relationship connections may require support; open communication and exploring alternatives help sustain intimacy.

Early Signs of Erectile Tissue Damage

When erectile tissue first gets injured, men may notice some subtle changes before major dysfunction occurs. Being aware of the early warning signs can help get treatment sooner, preventing long-term damage. Here are some typical early indicators:

Difficulty With Erections

At the start, men might struggle to get an erection occasionally or have issues maintaining firmness. Erections may not be as strong or last as long as normal. These difficulties tend to gradually worsen over time as scar tissue builds up inside the delicate penile tissue.

When the erectile tissue tries to heal after minor injuries or irritation, the body makes a tough kind of tissue called collagen. Sometimes, this tissue becomes too hard and stiff, making it hard for the penis to expand properly. Over time, achieving an erection requires more effort and stimulation but provides less rigid results.

Recognising erection problems early not only offers the best opportunity for healing but also reminds us that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Ignoring subtle changes often allows scars and blockages to accumulate to the point where medication or surgery becomes necessary to restore function.

Changes in Shape or Curvature

A common early sign is a new curve, angle, dent or hourglass shape appearing in the penis during erections. These unusual contours often develop as injured areas resist expanding with blood. The damaged section pulls part of the erection to that side, causing bending or narrowing.

Underlying conditions such as penile fibrosis (a condition where scar tissue forms inside the penis, causing it to feel firmer than normal) or Peyronie’s disease (a specific type of scarring that leads to curved, painful erections), or injuries from the past, often lead to these changes in shape when the penis is erect. The irregular shape tends to become more pronounced over time without treatment. Extreme curving can make sexual penetration difficult or impossible.

Consulting a doctor right away after noticing a new curvature or indentation can identify the cause early and prevent abnormal shaping from getting more severe. Catching it soon enough means less invasive solutions can help minimise permanent deformation. Ignoring progressive bending often allows significant scarring to occur, requiring surgery to regain normal appearance and function.

Physical Symptoms and Signs

In addition to erection difficulties, men may experience other bodily sensations indicating erectile tissue injury:

Pain or Discomfort

Sharp, stabbing pain during arousal or ejaculation can signify damage inside the penis. More mild chronic aching or numbness also occurs. Discomfort results from irritated nerves near scar tissue buildup or restricted blood flow straining delicate tissues.

Ignoring ongoing discomfort risks severe injury if already-weakened chambers become further harmed. Getting treatment relieves symptoms while preventing the worsening of damage.

Noticeable Changes in Sexual Performance

As scarring accumulates, men may observe reduced ejaculation strength, semen volume, and force. Restrictions inside erectile tissue hinder its compression ability needed to propel release. The urethra (the tube that leads urine and semen out of your body) passing through scars may get partially obstructed as well.

In addition to climatic changes, the duration and intensity of erections tend to decline over time. More stimulation provides less rigid results for shorter periods. These performance variations act as indicators of worsening penile health requiring prompt medical care. Catching declining function early maximises the chance of restoring normal sexual abilities with minimal intervention.

Psychological and Relational Effects

In addition to the physical symptoms of erectile tissue injury, there is often an emotional and relationship toll as well.

It’s completely natural to feel embarrassed or inadequate when faced with sexual difficulties, but it’s crucial to remember that these challenges are often medical in nature and can be addressed with the right support and care. Loss of intimacy can negatively impact a couple’s emotional connection. Shame and low self-esteem are also common results.

For relationships affected, open and honest communication is key. Speaking with a health provider allows for the development of customised coping strategies. Exploring alternatives to intercourse can keep couples close romantically when penetration proves physically difficult. Sexual activity and fulfilment extend well beyond penetrative sex alone.

Seeking support and working together with partners helps manage anxieties over symptoms. Therapies empower the development of reasonable expectations regarding sexual function after any decline. Recognising positive change comes slowly with treatment and avoids repeated hopelessness and frustration.

Diagnostic Steps and When to Seek Help

If experiencing potential symptoms of erectile tissue damage, taking proactive action is critical for both relief and prevention of future issues.

Self-Assessment and Monitoring

Carefully examining one’s own penis over time aids early detection. Feel gently along the shaft to check for new irregularities, small hardened spots, colour changes or sensitivity differences indicating possible injury. Track erection quality like firmness level and duration during arousal as well. Sudden decreases warrant medical consultation to determine if tissue has become compromised.

Professional Diagnosis

While self-checks help identify the need for care, a doctor should formally diagnose the causes and full extent of erectile tissue damage using imaging tests or blood flow analysis. A urologist will record a medical history, asking about illnesses, prior injuries, medications and specific symptoms being experienced. A hands-on physical exam also helps evaluate tissue integrity visually and through gently pressing along the penis shaft to pinpoint tender or hardened regions.

Special ultrasound scans or other imaging procedures assess blood circulation and reveal the location and degree of blockages or buildup obstructing healthy engorgement. Identifying the damage in its early stages while still minimal means less invasive solutions can restore normal function. But delaying until total erectile dysfunction could require complex surgical reconstruction to regain abilities. Timely diagnosis and care are key.

Treatment Options and Recovery

Multiple medical solutions exist to treat injured erectile tissue and help regain sexual abilities. The ideal approach depends on factors like a man’s age, overall health condition, the extent of damage present, and personal preferences around treatments.

Medications and Injections

Oral drugs like Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Spedra (avanafil), Liberize and Vitaros cream (alprostadil) help blood flow around damaged tissue and nerves in the penis. They work best when used soon after problems start before a lot of scars have built up. The ED pills relax vessels carrying blood so it flows stronger. More blood helps firmness return temporarily. But these medicines often stop working if injury and scarring have caused parts of the penis to harden permanently.

If the pills stop helping over time, direct shots into the spongy penile chambers may be needed. The injectible medicine relaxes narrow blood paths where scars have tightened down. Forcing blood entry causes firmness to happen when wanted. The shots work despite serious scarring but have to be done every time before sex.

Medical Devices

Penis pumps use suction to gently “pull” blood flow into the soft inner penis chambers. This allows men to get partly firm when they couldn’t before. The vacuum tugging action helps keep the fragile erectile tissue inside healthy and stretchy. Regular use of the external pump device can assist in regaining fuller natural erections over time. The pumps provide temporary relief before sex without drugs or surgery. They work by helping more blood reach damaged areas. With careful use, some men see the pump training help their penis respond again after injury.


For extensive internal scarring or total erectile failure, outpatient medical procedures can remove built-up plaque and scar tissue. Doctors remove the damaged parts and add new tissue to strengthen areas that could get hurt again. This reconstructive method clears blockages to enable blood flow and firmness again for many men.

If the penis trauma causes permanent scarring that prevents natural erections, implants offer another surgical solution. Inflatable prosthetics use a hand pump to push fluid into tubes inside the penis. This causes the device to stiffen on demand for sex. Implants involve man-made parts but provide rigid erections when erectile tissue doesn’t react anymore.

Prevention and Risk Management

Once erectile tissue gets damaged, it typically loses strength and is easier to hurt again. Taking careful precautions helps safeguard the penis from activities that could worsen damage.

Wearing protective cups and cushioning during sports or vigorous movements shields the penis from direct hits or excessive bending. Padding prevents the tender tissue from getting pressed too hard.

Managing medical conditions also prevents more harm to fragile erectile structures. Keeping diabetes and heart disease under tight control reduces plaque buildup in the small blood vessels central for healthy blood flow. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol helps these delicate blood channels stay open and work better. Avoiding high stress is also key since worry disrupts tissue healing.

Being gentle with the penis and supporting overall health gives damaged areas their best shot at recovery. Slowing disease progression through healthy lifestyle habits allows injured tissue to mend with fresh blood and oxygen. Taking precautions against re-injury stops minor scarring from getting worse and turning into permanent stiffness. Being patient with the body’s repair process prevents re-achieving full function again.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

If the potential erectile tissue damage symptoms described here resonate with your personal experience, don’t wait - take action now towards regaining your sexual health and confidence.

The Independent Pharmacy offers a quick, confidential online assessment you can access in your own home. Answer a few confidential questions about the specific erectile changes and symptoms you face. Our specialised team will analyse your responses and propose customised treatment plans suited to your situation.

Getting personalised expert support is as easy as clicking on our website and starting the private questionnaire. There’s no embarrassment over sensitive issues. No juggling appointments or sitting in waiting rooms. Just tailored advice on clinically proven medicines, devices, or therapies to help resolve your erectile challenges based on their severity.

The sooner you initiate your assessment, the faster you can implement the right solutions for you. The Independent Pharmacy stands ready to ease uncertainty and frustration by crafting a personalised plan to revive sexual function and enjoyment. Remember, fear and shame are natural feelings, but overcoming them is possible with support, leading you back to the fulfilling intimacy you deserve and are capable of experiencing. Regain confidence from expert care tailored around your needs.


What does damaged erectile tissue feel like?

Injured tissue may feel less smooth and spongy. New hardened or rope-like areas can be felt under the skin along the shaft. It may also seem numb or overly sensitive in certain spots when touched. Discomfort, pinching or sudden pain during arousal can happen too.

Can erectile tissue damage heal on its own?

Sometimes, minor injuries are repaired over time without intervention. But often, scarring prevents natural healing, causing worsening dysfunction. Seeking medical solutions promptly gives the best chance to regain full-strength erections.

How does a man with erectile dysfunction feel?

In addition to physical symptoms, self-esteem, confidence, and relationships are often impacted. Embarrassment, frustration, anger or hopelessness are common. Getting expert support eases these negative feelings through compassionate care tailored to each man’s needs.


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