Frenulum tears are a common penile problem that are most seen in men with a shorter frenulum. A tear can occur after the first time you have sex, and can lead to bleeding and intense genital pain.
If your frenulum tears, it's important to stop bleeding immediately by applying direct pressure to the area with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. Tears most commonly happen when the penis is erect (when there is a higher volume of blood in the tissue), and therefore it can take up to 20 minutes for bleeding to stop.
In most cases, no specific treatment is necessary. The frenulum skin regenerates and heals on its own after a few days. However, it is recommended to avoid sex while the frenulum is healing, and to maintain good hygiene in the location to prevent future infections.
To ensure the frenulum heals quickly without complications, you should consider the following steps:
- Avoid trauma to the area, therefore avoid any contact sports with a high risk for injury (e.g. football)
- Avoid sexual intercourse for 3 to 7 days until healing is complete
- Wash the genitals after urinating
- Apply an over-the-counter cream that promotes healing: this can be applied 2 to 3 times a day
When signs of infection emerge, like pain swelling or redness, you should see your doctor or urologist to start treatment with antibiotic ointment. He or she may prescribe ointments such as fusidic acid or topical bacitracin.
In the first few days of healing, it's normal to experience mild burning at the wound, especially after urinating. However, this discomfort will disappear gradually as the frenulum heals.
How to prevent tearing
The best way to prevent a tear in the frenulum is to initiate sex gently, to see whether stretching of the frenulum causes pain. Using a lubricant may also help as it prevents excess friction and pulling of the skin.
If you notice that your frenulum is very short and that it causes discomfort, you can speak to your urologist about whether you are a good candidate for a frenuloplasty. This is a minor surgical procedure which involves a small cut to the frenulum to lengthen it during intercourse.
When to see a doctor
In most cases, treatment can be done at home. However, you are advised to visit the doctor when:
- The pain is very intense and does not improve with time
- The skin does not heal within a week
- There are signs of infection such as swelling, redness, and pus
- Bleeding does not decrease with direct pressure
If the frenulum heals and re-tears, you may need to visit a urologist to assess the need for surgical intervention to prevent recurrence.