Penis & Foreskin Infections

penis enalrgement

You jump into that hot shower and take a minute to enjoy

that feeling of warmth that engulfs your body.

You start to think about the several hot dates you had over the past 3 weeks

and not to mention the incredible sex you have been having.

As the mist from the hot water slowly clears, you notice

something is not quite right with your penis.

The head of your penis looks very red and raw-angry perhaps

that it was not well taken care off.

You start to think. Could this be a STD??

Before we jump to conclusions, let’s take a look at common penile and foreskin infections.


Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans penis (head of the penis). Balanoposthitis on the other hand causes inflammation of the foreskin of the penis.

The symptoms and signs may include:

  • A pink or red rash, which may be smooth or scaly, spotty or patchy
  • Redness, swelling and tenderness of the glans and foreskin
  • Discharge or oozing
  • Itching and discomfort

In severe cases, it may be difficult to retract the foreskin (phimosis).

Balanitis can stem from a number of conditions.

Infection with Candida albicans is the most common cause. Candida is the fungus that causes thrush.

Bacteria can multiply rapidly in the moist and warm conditions under the foreskin.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)Examples include Herpes simplex virus, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis. Non-infectious conditions can also increase your risk of balanitis/balanoposthitis.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Eczema
  • Injuries and accidents
  • Irritation caused by rubbing or scratching
  • Irritation from exposure to chemicals (e.g. soaps, detergent)
  • Psoriasis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Tight foreskin

How is it managed?

To determine which factors are contributing to balanitis or balanoposthitis, a swab may be taken for bacterial and yeast culture. STD testing may be recommended in some cases in view of exposure risks.

Treating the underlying cause often clears up symptoms. Antibiotic and anti-fungal creams are common treatments. Corticosteroid creams may also be prescribed.

Next read: Phimosis & Paraphimosis (Tight And Retracted Foreskin)

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Herpes simplex virus. It is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact through vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes, they may include:

  • Pain or itching
  • Small red bumps or tiny white blisters. 
  • Ulcers. 
  • Scabs. 

There’s no cure for genital herpes. Treatment with prescription antiviral medications may reduce the duration or severity of the symptoms.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a type of bacteria known as Treponema pallidum

 The four stages of syphilis are:

Primary –        A sore or sores form at the original site of infection. These sores usually occur

                        on or around the genitals, around the anus or in the oral cavity.

Secondary –   You may get a non-itchy rash from two weeks to three months after getting

                        infected. It usually appears on the chest, stomach, genitals, palms of your 

                        hands and soles of your feet.

Latent      –     Usually there are no signs or symptoms

Tertiary    –     Neurological symptoms may develop

Syphilis is treated with antibiotics.


Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women.

You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.

Women with symptoms may notice

  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating.

Symptoms in men can include

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles
  • Itchiness at the urethral region

Chlamydia can be cured with the right antibiotics.


Gonorrhea is a curable infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

It tends to infect warm, moist areas of the body, including the:

  • urethra (the tube that drains urine from the urinary bladder)
  • eyes
  • throat
  • vagina
  • anus
  • female reproductive tract (the fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus)

 Most females who get gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms. If they do, symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning feeling when you pee
  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina that may be yellowish or bloody
  • Bleeding between periods

Men are more likely to have symptoms if they get gonorrhea. The symptoms usually begin within a week after they get the infection. 

These include:

  • Yellow, white, or green discharge from your penis
  • Pain or burning feeling when you pee
  • Pain or swelling in your testicles

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

 HPV can cause cauliflower-shaped growths or pink or brown bumps to appear in the genital region.

Treatment include:

  • applying a cream, lotion or chemicals to the warts
  • destroying the warts by freezing, heating or removing them.

The HPV vaccine, developed to protect against more serious forms of HPV, can also prevent genital warts.

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin disease, caused by a virus that spreads easily between people. Molluscum is usually harmless. It causes small, shiny bumps on the skin. 

Though most common in children, molluscum contagiosum can affect adults as well particularly those with weakened immune systems. In adults with an otherwise normal immune system, molluscum contagiosum involving the genitals is considered a sexually transmitted infection.


Scabies is a contagious skin condition that can affect many parts of the body, including the penis. People get scabies when the Sarcoptes scabiei mite burrows into the skin. 

Sexual contact increases the risk of scabies in the penis. Scabies causes tiny blisters or sores on the skin that are extremely itchy, especially at night. These sores typically occur in thin, irregular lines showing the path of the mite under the skin.

Wait, are all penile lesions caused by infection?

No, not all lesions are caused by infection. Here are some of the non infectious causes of penile lesions.

Pearly Penile Papules

Pearly Penile Papules (PPP). They are very small bumps, the same colour as your skin, but with a pearly appearance. They usually appear around the glans (head) of the penis in a row.

They are not sexually transmitted, and they don’t need any treatment. If you really want them removed for cosmetic reasons, it is possible with radio frequency cautery or laser treatment.

Fordyce spots

These are slightly enlarged oil glands and are present in 80 to 95 per cent of adults on   various parts of the body.

On the head or shaft of the penis they look like small yellowish or white spots and are completely normal, harmless and painless.

They can be treated with topical creams and ointments.

Inflamed Hair Follicles

In some cases, multiple tiny bumps beneath the skin of the scrotum or base of the shaft may be nothing more than inflamed hair follicles. 

These can be treated with oral and topical antibiotics.


Psoriasis is a non-infectious skin disorder that can sometimes develop on the penis, causing a red or salmon-colored patch with a white or silvery scales. 

It is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks skin cells on different parts of the body

Psoriasis can often be treated with topical corticosteroids or oral medications that treat psoriasis systemically

When to see a doctor

If you have a rash or lesion on your penis that gets worse or do not go away by themselves, you should consult a doctor as it could be a sign of an infection.

This is particularly important when the person is sexually active.

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