Symptoms A-Z

Penile Redness Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your penile redness symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

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  1. 8 Possible Penile Redness Causes
  2. FAQs
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics

8 Possible Penile Redness Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced penile redness. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Penile irritation

Irritation of the penis is common, and can come from a number of benign causes. Common causes include cleaning with a new kind of soap, cleaning too much, or chaffing.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: penis itch, penile redness

Symptoms that never occur with penile irritation: fever, painful urination, testicle pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Chlamydia (male)

Chlamydia in men is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. The disease is caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.

A man can get chlamydia through having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner, either male or female.

Symptoms of chlamydia in men include discharge from the penis; burning sensation on urination; and sometimes pain and swelling in the testicles. The disease can spread to the rectum and cause rectal pain, bleeding, and discharge. It may affect the eyes and cause bacterial conjunctivitis.

It is important to get treatment for these symptoms, as chlamydia in men can lead to sterility. It also leaves a person more susceptible to contracting HIV.

Diagnosis is made through urine test and/or a swab from the end of the penis.

Treatment involves a course of antibiotics, usually by mouth, to kill the bacteria. Be sure to finish all of the medication as directed.

It is possible to be re-infected with chlamydia even after having the disease, so it still very important to practice safe sex.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: testicle pain, sudden urgency to urinate, painful urination, frequent urination, fluid leaking

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Urinary tract infection

A urinary tract infection is an infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, bladder, and urethra. Urinary tract infections are usually caused by infections by fecal bacteria.

Symptoms of urinary tract infections include pain with urination (dysuria), cloudy urine (pyuria), feeling the urge to urinate, needing to urinate more frequently, blood in the urine (hematuria), inability to control the bladder or pain in the lower abdomen. Infections of the upper urinary tract may cause fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, and flank pain.

Treatment includes antibiotic medications, pain medications, and intravenous fluids.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), pelvis pain, sudden urgency to urinate, signs of urinary tract inflammation, urinary changes

Symptoms that always occur with urinary tract infection: signs of urinary tract inflammation

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Genital herpes

Genital herpes, or herpes simplex virus 2 infection, is a sexually transmitted disease that causes incurable sores in the genital and rectal areas. The disease is caused by the HSV-2 virus.

Most susceptible are women, as the virus is more easily transmitted from men to women during sex. However, many people carry HSV-2 but are never diagnosed.

  • The virus can be transmitted during sex even by a person with no symptoms.

When present, symptoms include small, painful, blister-like lesions on the genitals and rectum; flu-like symptoms of fever, headache, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Before blisters appear, there may be pain and tinging at the site of the outbreak.

HSV-2 cannot be cured, but can be managed to help ease the symptoms and prevent further spread. The virus can be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby during the birth process, and anyone with herpes simplex is especially vulnerable to HIV.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and fluid samples from active lesions.

Treatment involves antiviral medication and always practicing safe sex.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: symptoms of infection, fatigue, muscle aches, fever, penis pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Scabies is a rash caused by the microscopic human itch mite. It burrows into the top layer of skin to feed and causes severe itching and irritation.

The mite spreads through direct contact or through infested bedding or furniture. It can infect anyone, though most susceptible are:

  • Children.
  • Sexually active young adults.
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system.
  • Patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Symptoms include intense itching, especially at night, and a rash of tiny red bumps. Scratching may cause the rash to form sores, scales, or crusts. The rash most often forms between the fingers, in the folds of the wrists and elbows, and any place normally covered by clothing.

It is important to get treatment because the scratching can cause an infection in the skin. In children, mites can cover nearly the entire body.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and skin test.

Treatment involves a prescription for skin cream. Everyone who has come into contact with the affected person must be treated, even if they show no symptoms.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, feeling itchy or tingling all over, butt itch, elbow itch

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Non-specific skin rash

Common causes of rash are contact dermatitis, sun damage, or allergic reaction. However, many rashes are a symptom of disease and should not be ignored.

Nonspecific rashes have widely varied symptoms:

  • May be flat and smooth; slightly raised or with swollen welts; clean and dry; or blistered and oozing.

May spread widely over the body, or be confined to one site.

  • May appear after eating certain foods; or after exposure to certain plants or to insect stings or bites.

Other symptoms may be present, including pain anywhere in the body; nausea; vomiting; fever; headache; or abdominal pain and upset.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination to determine the exact type, location, and history of the rash, along with any other symptoms that may be present.

Those symptoms will be investigated with blood tests or imaging. Skin swabs may be taken and tested. After the process has ruled out as many causes as possible, a course of treatment can be determined.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash

Symptoms that always occur with non-specific skin rash: rash

Urgency: Wait and watch


Urethritis is an infection of the urethra, which drains urine out of the body from the bladder. The urethra may be involved alone or with other structures in an overall urinary tract infection.

Urethritis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in itself, but the same bacteria and viruses that cause STDs can also infect the urethra. Another common cause is the E.coli bacteria, found in feces.

Most susceptible are sexually active women, but anything that allows bacteria (especially E. coli) to travel into the urinary tract can cause an infection.

The most common symptoms are burning on urination and a cloudy discharge.

Diagnosis is made through urine test and a swab taken from the urethra. A urethritis patient should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases as well.

Treatment involves antibiotics, if the urethritis is caused by bacteria. Taking cranberry supplements can also be helpful, as long as the patient is not also taking the blood thinner called warfarin.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: painful urination, penis pain, fluid leaking, pink/blood-tinged urine, cloudy urine

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Gonococcal urethritis

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a germ (bacterium) called the gonococcus. This bacterium is spread by sexual contact, or through transmission during childbirth, and causes inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube that passes urine.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: painful urination, fluid leaking, spontaneous testicle pain, redness at the tip of the penis, testicular swelling

Urgency: Primary care doctor

FAQs About Penile Redness

Here are some frequently asked questions about penile redness.

Why is my toddler experiencing penile redness?

Balanoposthitis is inflammation of the glands of the penis and foreskin of an (often young) uncircumcised male. It is typically the result of poor hygiene and possibly an allergy to whatever material a child's diaper is made from. Most have complete resolution of symptoms with treatment, including any associated rash in the diaper area.

Why is my penile redness not going away?

Penile redness is rare in adults and can be caused by using latex condoms in persons with a latex allergy, consistently poor hygiene or an allergic reaction. Usually it resolves. If it does not resolve in 710 days, it should be evaluated by a medical professional. It can be a sign of serious infection.

Can a latex allergy cause penile redness?

Yes, allergies to latex condoms can cause both penile swelling and penile redness. If you have a latex allergy, it is advisable to use non-latex condoms. Polyurethane condoms or condoms made from animal products are viable alternatives, as repeated latex exposure as well as friction can cause a severe allergic reaction to the penis.

Why is the skin on my penis peeling?

Many things can cause penile skin to peel. Firstly, you should consult a medical professional. Skin on the penis is similar to skin elsewhere in the body in that it can sunburn and peel. However, as a rash heals on the penis, it may slough off dead skin.

Is a penile infection contagious?

Yes, a penile infection is contagious. These diseases are sexually transmitted infections (STI) and can be transmitted through genital contact with other genitals or mucous membranes. Skin infections (pimples) are less infectious, but it is advisable to refrain from sexual activity until after the infection clears.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Penile Redness

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do you have a rash?
  • Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Do you notice anything going on with your penis?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

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Penile Redness Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced penile redness have also experienced:

  • 15% Penis Pain
  • 13% Penis Itch
  • 7% Painful Urination

People who have experienced penile redness were most often matched with:

  • 57% Chlamydia (Male)
  • 28% Urinary Tract Infection
  • 14% Penile Irritation

People who have experienced penile redness had symptoms persist for:

  • 33% Less than a week
  • 23% Over a month
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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