Rash on Penis – Penile Rash
Unusual spots or blotches or any kind of rash on the penis can cause a lot of concern.
It is not always caused by an STD or an infection.
This article will break down some of the possible causes.
For causes of lumps and bumps on the penis, read our other article by clicking HERE.
1.) Herpes Simplex
This presents classically as a cluster of 3 to 5 painful blisters. Each blister is 3mm to 5mm in diameter. The skin under the blisters is always red. Herpes is transmitted by sexual contact even oral sex.
Click HERE for our full article on Herpes.
2.) Fixed Drug Eruption
This is caused by an allergy to medicines, foods or supplements. It can occur up to 2 weeks after having ingested the medicine or supplement. It looks like a dark oval with sharp edges and is between 0.5cm and 5cm in diameter. The centre may be wet or even have blisters. It may feel itchy, burning or even painful. These lesions fade away by themselves after a few weeks but leaves behind a permanently pigmented patch.
3.) Erythroplasia of Queyrat aka Bowen’s Disease of the Penis aka in situ Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the penis
This is a skin cancer of the penis. It occurs more often in uncircumcised men. It presents as a single (sometimes multiple) lump or patch on the head of the penis. It can look either velvety or scaly. It is never painful.
4.) Lichen Planus
This is caused by a problem with the immune system. It appears as a pink, fruity, polygonal flat lump that varies from 1mm to 1cm in size. It can be single or multiple arranged in lines or circles. Most of these will go away by themselves in 6 to 18 months. People will Lichen Planus may also be suffering from other immune related problems like Alopecia Areata. Sometimes, Lichen Planus occurs in people who are infected with Hepatitis C or other form of Hepatitis.
5.) Lichen Sclerosus aka Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans
This is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Most times the cause is unknown but it may be caused by HPV infection or radiotherapy. It increases the risk of skin cancer. Early on in the disease, it may look very mild like a mildly red or lighter coloured patch. As it progresses, it becomes a white thick scar. It can cause pain or a burning sensation. It can even cause pain while passing urine.
This is caused by a fungal infection of the head of the penis. People with a poor immune system (e.g. Uncontrolled Diabetics, Untreated HIV) have a higher risk of developing this problem. It appears as white patches on the skin (looks like milk curds). If a patient tries to scrape away these patches, the base will bleed. It is easily treated with anti-fungal medicines however, the patient should also be screened for Diabetes or any other disease that may be compromising his immune system.
7.) Pemphigus Vulgaris
This is caused by an over-active immune system almost like an “internal allergy”. It appears as flaccid blisters. These blisters are very fragile and break easily forming erosions. It can be controlled with steroid creams. It may be dangerous if it involves a big area of skin other than the genitals.
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. It presents as scaly salmon-pink ovals on the skin. The borders are very well demarcated. They can be itchy. Psoriasis can also affect many other areas of the body. It is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. But it can be controlled by various creams and light therapy. Psoriasis can also lead to joint pain.
9.) Balanitis Circumscripta Plasmacellularis aka Zoon Balanitis aka Plasma cell balanitis
This is very rare and is caused by the body’s antibodies attacking its own cells. It usually happens in middle age to older men who are not circumcised. It looks like a single, glistening, shiny, red to orange patch on the skin. It can be treated with special creams. Circumcision has also been shown to cure it.
If you are worried about a rash on your penis see our Doctor for more advice.