Most men will experience genital skin problems at some point, because this area is sensitive and quite unprotected, and also because it often gets hot and humid in the skin folds. Itching and rash in the genital area may be caused by infections transmitted through sexual intercourse, reactions to certain allergens, or from sports because of tight-fitting clothing and sweating in the genital area.
Although these conditions can be painful and embarrassing, most quickly disappear with the correct treatment, so do not hesitate to contact a doctor. APPOTEK can help you with genital problems.
There are several different diseases that cause genital skin problems:
Pubic lice or “crabs” are spread through close contact, for example during sex or when using towels or wearing clothes of an infected person. The lice cause itching and are located mainly in the genital area, but can also be found in the eyebrows and beard. You can treat crabs with non prescription medicines that you can find at any pharmacy.
Every third person carries the herpes virus – a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after initial infection, but you will have the herpes virus for the rest of your life.
Symptoms include small blisters that burst to leave red, open sores around your genitals, anus, thighs or bottom; tingling, burning or itching around your genitals; pain when you pee.
Many people who get herpes never have symptoms, or have mild symptoms that can be mistaken for other skin conditions.
There’s no cure for herpes and the symptoms clear up by themselves, but the blisters can come back (an outbreak or recurrence). The first time you have genital herpes, you may be prescribed antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse (you need to start taking this within 5 days of symptoms appearing); you may also be prescribed cream for the pain.
Genital wart is a venereal disease that causes warts in the genital area or in anus. They’re caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). There’s no cure for genital warts, but it’s possible for your body to clear the virus over time. This can sometimes take several years, but may be faster with the help of different treatments that may be prescribed by a doctor.
If you have genital psoriasis you can see red glossy spots on the penis and inside of the foreskin. You may also have a rash in the anus or on the buttocks. Symptoms usually disappear quickly with treatment. Genital psoriasis treatments may include: Medication applied to the skin, such as low dose steroid creams, vitamin D, or ointments containing calcineurin inhibitors. For more serious cases, ultraviolet light treatment or oral medicines such as retinoids or biologic drugs, may be prescribed. Consult a doctor for treatment.
Scabies is a skin infection caused by mites that live in the skin of the penis or scrotum. A scabies rash begins to appear four to six weeks after becoming infested with these tiny mites. It can itch a lot – especially at night – and you can sometimes see small red blisters. Scabies is not usually a serious condition, but it is highly contagious and does need to be treated. If you suspect scabies, see a doctor for testing and treatment. The following medications may be prescribed:
- antihistamine medication to control itching, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- antibiotics to heal infections and prevent other infections cause by repeated scratching
- steroid cream to help relieve itching and swelling
Candida or “thrush” is a common yeast infection that causes the mucous membrane of the genitals to become red and swollen. Sometimes you may feel burning and itching. There are different types of antifungal medicines to treat candida, both prescription and non-prescription.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection that’s spread by sexual intercourse. It is not common, but can cause serious problems if it’s left untreated. You may have symptoms in the form of ulcers in the genital area, but not everyone gets symptoms and so may spread the infection without knowing they are infected.
Syphilis can usually be cured with a short course of antibiotics. It is important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have syphilis. You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you have been treated for it before. Practising safe sex is important for prevention and containment.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help with consultations and advice on male genital conditions, but a physical examination may be required to correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment.