Penile Diagnostic Procedures and Tests

Most penile conditions can be diagnosed by your doctor through a physical exam and talking with you about your symptoms and health history. During an office visit, your doctor may ask questions about when your symptoms started, how severe they are and whether you noticed anything that brought them on.

Some penile conditions are relatively easy to diagnose by exam and health history alone. However, some conditions may require further testing and evaluation, either to figure out what condition you have or to uncover any underlying problems that could be causing your condition.

Diagnostic testing for penile conditions

If your symptoms don't point to a specific disorder, your doctor may order the following tests:

  • Imaging tests , such as an ultrasound, Pelvic X-ray, Intravenous pyelogram (IVP), CT scan and MRI, that can help your doctor see whether you have abnormalities that could explain your symptoms or to diagnose and stage cancer
  • Blood tests to detect infection or diseases and disorders that could be causing your symptoms; blood tests may also be used to check for electrolyte imbalance
  • An excisional or incisional biopsy of growths or sores your penis to find out whether you have cancer
  • A lymph node biopsy , using fine needle aspiration (FNA), surgical lymph node biopsy or lymphadenectomy, to find out if cancer has spread beyond the penis
  • Urinalysis to look for chemicals and blood cells that can aid in diagnosis
  • A swab of your urethra to help diagnose infections that can cause conditions like balanitis, phimosis and penile cancer

If you have symptoms that suggest a serious condition, like priapism or paraphimosis, your doctor may recommend immediate treatment, including surgery.

Learn more about penile conditions

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