What causes itching around the penis?


Genital itching can be bothersome and uncomfortable as a result of a rash, red bumps or blisters.

It can be a symptom of many conditions including sexually transmitted infections, here are some of the most common reasons for itching around the penis.

What causes itching around the penis?

Itching around the genitals is the result of inflammation that can occur for many different reasons, including:

  • Scabies can appear as small red bumps on the stem, it occurs when the mites burrow into the skin
  • Lichen sclerosus, a rare condition that weakens the skin with white patches
  • Jock itch that causes ring-like redness in the groin area
  • Razor burn where the skin becomes irritated after shaving
  • Ingrown hairs that appear after shaving or waxing when the tip of a hair folds back into the skin
  • Pubic lice that are caught through close bodily contact with others
  • Being overweight or obese, which can cause skin irritation through skin chafing
  • Eczema and other skin conditions
  • Excessive sweating that can cause chafing
  • Allergies to latex condoms or detergents or other skin care products
  • Uncontrolled conditions like diabetes
Itchy genitals can be a sign of a sexually transmitted infectionCredit: Getty

What causes an itchy penis?

There are many reasons why men can experience itching all over their penis, including sexually transmitted infections such as:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause burning and discomfort when using the toilet
  • Genital warts can cause sore spots or itchiness, they can be contagious even if you can’t see them
  • Candidiasis or thrush is a fungal infection that may be accompanied by a spotty rash or a thick white discharge
  • Balanitis, an inflammation of the head of the penis usually occurs on the tip of uncircumcised penises
  • Contact dermatitis, where the skin has an allergic reaction
What is a circumcised penis and why do some men get them?

Non-sexually transmitted causes include:

  • Skin conditions such as fungal and bacterial conditions
  • Irritation from scented lotions, soaps, and other body products
  • Environmental factors such as poor hygiene and uncomfortable underwear can irritate the penis

What are the best treatments for itching around the penis?

You should see your GP when you experience symptoms as they may require a biopsy or STI test.

From there, they may be able to provide over-the-counter treatments.

Depending on the symptoms, these may include:

  • Antifungal drugs to target the infection
  • Antihistamines if itching is due to an allergy
  • Antibiotics if it’s a bacterial infection
  • Steroid creams to reduce inflammation

There are a few home treatments you can try to ease some of the discomfort, including:

  • Abstain from sexual activity to relieve irritation
  • Apply oil to relieve itching
  • Bathing with bath salts to reduce inflammation
  • Use a cold compress to relieve discomfort
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There are also ways to prevent penile itching in the future by:

  • Avoid heavily scented soaps and lotions
  • Clean the foreskin to avoid dirt and lingering bacteria
  • Use barrier methods like condoms during sex to protect yourself from STIs
  • Maintain good hygiene and dry properly after bathing to reduce further discomfort

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