Penis Symptoms

Is this your symptom?

  • Rash, pain, discharge, itching, and swelling of penis
  • Symptoms not caused by a known injury

Some Basics...

  • There are different types of problems a man can have with his penis.
  • Any of the following are signs of a possible problem: rash, pain, discharge, itching, and swelling.
  • The type of symptom(s) gives a clue to the cause of the problem.

Causes of Burning with Passing Urine

  • Bladder infection
  • Blood in the urine
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia)

Causes of Discharge

  • STDs (gonorrhea, chlamydia)

Causes of Itching

  • Contact dermatitis (latex condoms)
  • Irritation from a chemical product like perfumed soaps or spermicides
  • Irritation from a plant, fiberglass, or detergent
  • Poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash
  • Skin cancer
  • Skin disorders/rashes (psoriasis, eczema, and drug rashes)
  • STDs (pubic lice)

Causes of Pain

  • Bladder infection
  • Injury
  • Priapism
  • STDs

Causes of Rash

  • Contact dermatitis (latex condoms, lubricants, spermicides, and perfumed soaps)
  • Poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash
  • Rash after sex or masturbation (lack of lubrication)
  • Skin cancer
  • Skin disorders/rashes (psoriasis, eczema, and drug rashes)
  • STDs (herpes)

Causes of Swelling

  • Priapism

What Is Priapism?

This is an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours. It is unwanted and often painful. It can be caused by sickle cell anemia. Certain drugs can also have this side effect. It may need to be treated in a hospital.

When to Call for Penis Symptoms

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Fever and pain or burning with passing urine
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Pain or burning with passing urine
  • Pus (white, yellow) or bloody discharge from end of penis
  • Blood in urine
  • Looks infected (draining sore, ulcer, or rash that is painful to touch)
  • Rash with painful tiny water blisters
  • Swollen foreskin and not circumcised
  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You are worried you might have an STD
  • Blood in semen
  • Painless rash (redness, tiny bumps, sore) that has been there for more than 24 hours
  • Using antibiotics for an STD for 3 days and still painful to pass urine
  • Other penis problems
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Painless rash (redness, tiny bumps, sore) that has been there for less than 24 hours
  • Mild itch and no rash

Care Advice for Penis Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Penis symptoms include rash, pain, discharge, itching, and swelling.
    • These symptoms can have many different causes.
    • You can treat mild penis symptoms at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Concerns about a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI or STD)
    • If you think you have an STI, you should see your doctor. Wear a condom, or even better, avoid sex until you have been examined.
    • If the doctor diagnoses you with an STI, be sure to notify your sexual partner right away. He or she may need testing or treatment, too.
  3. Cleansing: Wash the area once with unscented soap and water. This will help to remove any irritants.
  4. Genital Hygiene:
    • Keep your penis and scrotal area clean and dry.
    • Wash the area daily. Use unscented soap and water.
    • Wear cotton underwear.
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Rash spreads or gets worse
    • Rash lasts more than 1 day
    • Fever occurs
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 12/14/2017 1:32:40 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:13 PM

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Pubic Lice

The photo shows pubic lice in the pubic hair of groin area. Pubic lice are tiny wingless insects that live only on human beings. The are also called "crabs".

Typical symptoms of pubic lice are:

  • Itching of the pubic area is the main symptom.
  • Pubic hair contains gray bugs (lice) 1/16-inch long, that move quickly, and are difficult to see.
  • Nits (white or tan eggs) cemented to hair shafts near the skin (usually within 1/2 inch or 12 mm). Unlike dandruff or sand, nits can't be shaken off the hair shafts.

Pubic lice are very contagious:

  • The primary mode of transmission is via the skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sexual intercourse. There is a 95% chance of transmission during a single episode of sexual intercourse.
  • Rarely they can be transmitted via objects such as infected bed linens or toilet seats.

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