What is a penile rash?
A penile rash is the presence of spots or sores on the penis and possibly on other areas of the groin or genitals. It can be accompanied by itching that may be intense, and pain or tenderness. Related symptoms may include blisters; burning or pain with urination; redness, warmth or swelling; scabbing; and scar tissue.
Penile rash can be extremely uncomfortable or awkward and may create difficulty with urination, sexual relations, and daily activities. In addition to symptoms in and around your penis, and depending on the cause, penile rash can be accompanied by generalized symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms (fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches, and pains) and poor health in general.
Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause painful, blister-like sores on the penis and genitals. Human papillomavirus infection can cause genital warts, which may appear as multiple lumps or warts on the genital organs. Other causes of penile rash are similar to causes of rash elsewhere on the body and include psoriasis, dermatitis, chemical irritation, and allergic reactions. A scabies mite infestation may also be associated with multiple small bumps at the area of itching.
A penile rash is not an emergency, but it may be a sign of a disease that can be transmitted to others. Seek prompt medical care if symptoms persist or cause you concern.
What other symptoms might occur with penile rash?
Penile rash may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.
Genitourinary symptoms that may occur along with penile rash
Penile rash may accompany other symptoms affecting the genitourinary system including:
- Difficult or painful urination (dysuria)
- Discharge or pus
- Frequent urination
- Lumps or sores
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful ejaculation
- Redness, warmth or swelling
- Testicular pain
Other symptoms that may occur along with penile rash
Penile rash may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:
Itchy skin elsewhere on the body
Rash in other regions of the body
Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition
Penile rash is not an emergency, but it may be a sign of a disease that can be transmitted to others. Seek prompt medical care if you have persistent symptoms of penile rash including:
What causes penile rash?
Penile rash can result from a number of different causes, and evaluating other symptoms in conjunction can help identify the cause. Some sexually transmitted infections may result in bumps, blisters, or a rash on the genitals. Other causes are related to allergic reactions or irritation.
Sexually transmitted causes of penile rash
Penile rash may be caused by certain sexually transmitted diseases including:
Other causes of penile rash
Penile rash can also be caused by:
- Allergic reactions
- Balanitis (inflammation of the foreskin)
- Dermatitis, including contact dermatitis such as poison ivy
- Irritation from chemicals such as soaps or detergents
- Psoriasis (chronic inflammatory skin condition)
- Tinea cruris (jock itch; a fungal infection of the groin)
Questions for diagnosing the cause of penile rash
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your penile rash including:
How long have you had the rash?
Does it hurt to urinate or ejaculate?
Have you experienced this before?
Do you have any other symptoms, such as discharge or itching?
Have you started using any new detergents or soaps?
Are you sexually active? Are you having unprotected sex, or do you have multiple partners?
What medications are you taking?
What are the potential complications of penile rash?
Because penile rash can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Penile or scrotal cancer
- Scarring and narrowing of the opening of the penis
- Scarring of the penis
- Spread of infection
- Transmission of STDs to sexual partners