How Do I Treat Dermatitis of the Penis?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 January 2019
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Dermatitis of the penis often doesn't require treatment unless it causes severe irritation or discomfort. Sometimes corticosteroid creams may be used to stop itching and to reduce inflammation. Oftentimes dermatitis is caused by exposure of the skin to irritating substances, including chemicals in laundry detergents or fragrances in soaps. For this reason, part of any treatment for penis dermatitis should include avoiding these substances.

Symptoms that can occur with dermatitis of the penis include redness, swelling, itching, and other discomfort. This may occur on the head of the penis, or anywhere along the shaft. Occasionally, discharge may also be noted. Since these symptoms are also commonly reported with many sexually transmitted diseases, so they should be investigated by a doctor to rule out these conditions. Once it has been determined that a sexually transmitted infection isn't to blame, the doctor will likely provide a cream to reduce inflammation and discomfort.

If dpenis dermatitis is being caused by exposure to chemicals and other substances, symptoms may recur or fail to improve until those chemicals are removed from the atmosphere. Those who are using a scented laundry detergent, soap, or other substance which comes in contact with the body should remove all potential irritants. They can be slowly reintroduced one at a time to determine which one is causing the issues.

Sometimes, dermatitis of the penis will occur after sexual contact with someone who has been using these products, or after using personal lubricant or condoms. In other cases, the penis may become irritated after being exposed to moisture for long periods of time. Sex itself may also cause irritation if intercourse is prolonged. Although not contagious, it is often best to avoid sex until symptoms begin to heal to avoid making symptoms worse.

Mild cases of dermatitis will likely require no treatment to cure them, since they often disappear on their own once irritants are removed. Treatment is typically needed to help with discomfort. Occasionally, additional treatment may be necessary in severe cases when the condition is caused by non-irritant sources. For instance, dermatitis of the penis is occasionally caused by fungal infections. These are often spread from a sexual partner who is suffering from a vaginal yeast infection, and an anti-fungal cream is typically needed.

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Post 6

I am not sure if this is a recent thread but I have itching and flaky skin on my penile shaft. I know it isn't an STD because I have not had sex. It looks the same as in the last picture. Is mine just an allergic reaction to lotion or something?

Post 5

I had/have dermatitis on my penile gland which I thought was due to unprotected sex and could be an STD.

It took the dermatologists about 20 seconds to say this is not an STD, so I would highly recommend just going to a doctor and having them rule that out. I haven't discovered a complete cure to mine yet but believe sexual friction started the irritation which has not been able to fully heal

Post 4

I had this several months ago. After running some tests, my doctor came to the conclusion that it was due to friction during sex. I didn't need dermatitis treatment, I was just told to avoid sex for a while.

The doctor was right, the flaky patch of skin disappeared soon after I stopped having sex. I'm sexually active as of right now, it has been two months and everything seems fine. I am avoiding oral sex though because I think that could be a cause as well.

Post 3

@ysmina-- The only way to know the cause of dermatitis on the penis is to see a doctor. A doctor will be able to tell you from the appearance of the dermatitis whether it is contact dermatitis (allergies) or possibly due to an STD.

Have you had unprotected sex with a new partner recently? Do you have other symptoms like an abnormal discharge or fever? If yes, it could be an STD and you should get STD testing.

If not, it's probably an allergic reaction due to detergents, soaps, body wash, condoms or lubricants. Dermatitis can also occur as a result of a fungal or bacterial skin infection which is not uncommon on the penis. Make sure you clean the foreskin properly and keep your penis dry. You can use a topical cortisone cream for the rash but do see a doctor about it if it doesn't resolve.

Post 2

Is there a way to tell apart dermatitis caused by allergies and dermatitis caused by a sexually transmitted disease?

I have itching and flaky skin and I'm worried that it's an STD.

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