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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Penis erection

04/09/2003

Question:

my 2 year old has a hard penis (erection) when he goes to the bathroom. Sometimes it is so hard he can not pee until it goes down and he says that it hurts. It is like this often. His penis is very large for his age I think, it is already about 2 1/2 inches is this normal

Answer:

It is not all that uncommon for a child to have these erections. Persistent painful erections is a condition called "priapism" but is relatively uncommon. When the penis is erect the bladder outlet is closed shut (to prevent sperm from going back into the bladder). This explains the pain boys have when they try to urinate during an erection. Sometimes a boy can have these erections if he is having some degree of constipation. There is a wide range of what would be called "normal" for penile sizes. Often an ultrasound of the bladder and kidneys is helpful in children with painful voiding to make sure that is wrong with the internal anatomy. 

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Response by:

Rama   Jayanthi, MD Rama Jayanthi, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University