Why does the penis change color?

By: Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, M.D. — Written by Jenna Fletcher
Source: Medical News Today
Website: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320963

Sometimes a man’s penis can turn a purple-red color. Mostly, this color change is benign. The penis may become purple whenever there is increased blood flow to the blood vessels and glands within it. This often happens when a man experiences arousal.

However, when the color change is abnormal, unexplained, or accompanied by pain or itchiness, a man should see his doctor, as a purple coloration may be a sign of infection, injury, or circulation issues.

A urologist is the best doctor to see when it comes to questions about the penis. Men without access to a urologist should seek medical attention from their primary care provider.
Fast facts on purple penis:

The most common cause of a man’s penis turning purple is when the glands and blood vessels react to arousal.26
For sexually active men, a sexually transmitted disease may be to blame for purple-red sores on the penis.
In most cases, issues that cause purple penis are treatable.

What are the causes?
There are many potential causes for a purple penis, including injuries or STDs.

When a color change results from arousal, it is not a cause for concern. In these instances, the color change is due to extra blood flowing to the penis.

At most other times, a man should be concerned about either part or all of the penis turning a purplish color, as it may be the result of illness or an injury.

Other common causes of purple penis aside from arousal include the following:
Sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Purple sores are typical of diseases, such as genital herpes and syphilis. Both herpes and syphilis are accompanied by additional symptoms. These can include:


The best way to prevent contracting an STD is to practice safe sex. Knowing a partner’s sexual health can also prevent the transmission of STDs.

Bruising on the body occurs when small blood vessels rupture, leaking blood under the surface of the skin. Where the blood collects, it causes the skin to turn purple. This can happen anywhere, including on the penis. Often, when a bruise occurs, the cause is known to the individual.

Small bruises do not necessarily require particular attention. Some common causes of minor bruising to the penis may include:

vigorous sex
getting caught in the zipper
minor pinching

A small bruise may feel painful or tender to the touch. It may turn to a deeper color as it heals. If a small bruise fails to heal on its own or becomes larger, a man should seek medical attention.

Severe bruises that are the result of blunt force trauma require immediate medical attention. A man should wear protective gear when involved in contact sports to help prevent severe injury.

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