Symptoms A-Z

Reasons Your Penis May Be Itchy & How to Know When to See A Doctor

Penis irritation and itchiness could look like a rash, red bumps, or blisters on the penis. An itchy penis is most commonly caused by skin infections, chemicals used in hygiene products, or a symptom of a sexually transmitted disease. Read below for more information on related symptoms, other causes, and treatment options.

Penis Itch Symptom Checker

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Common Genital Itching Symptoms in Men

Itching of the genital area can be an embarrassing and uncomfortable condition. Fortunately, most cases of penile itching are benign and can be easily treated.

Other symptoms associated with penile itching are

If you're experiencing penile itching, it's likely to also experience:

What Causes an Itchy Penis?

Itching is the result of inflammation and is commonly due to rashes caused by infections, dermatologic skin conditions and environmental exposures. Many of these rashes are caused by sexually transmitted infections, but there are also conditions that are not sexually transmitted.

Sexually transmitted causes

Causes of an itchy penis related to sexually transmitted infections include the following.

  • Bacterial: Many types of outside bacteria can enter the body easily via the urinary tract, including sexually transmitted bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia. Bacterial infections are often the main cause of penile itching and its associated symptoms.
  • Viral: Sexually transmitted viral infections, such as herpes, can cause penile itching as well as many associated symptoms such as blistering and painful penis bumps. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is viral infection and results in itchy genital warts.
  • Other: Organisms such as lice and mites that like to invade dark areas of moisture (the genital area) can also cause intense symptoms of itching. Such organisms require direct skin contact with another infected person and, as a result, can be transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse.

Non-sexually transmitted causes

Penis itch may occur due to non-sexually transmitted causes, such as the following.

  • Dermatologic: Dermatologic causes involve any condition involving the skin, nails and hair. Many non-sexually transmitted bacteria and fungi can infect the skin and cause itchy rashes. Fungal infections affect the skin and can cause rashes that result in intense itching and discomfort. Candida fungi are common on the skin and can overgrow in the genital area causing itching.
  • Irritation: Scented soaps, lotions, toiletries and other body products can irritate the genital tissue and cause itchy, dry skin.
  • Environmental: Keep in mind that not all causes of penile itching are medically related. Environmental exposures such as sweat, poor hygiene, and even uncomfortable underwear can irritate the penis and cause symptoms.

6 Possible Penis Itch Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced penis itch. 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

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), ...

Scabies

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

Penis Itch Symptom Checker

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Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is chronic skin condition in which a person forms patches of white, wrinkly, thin skin, often described as being like "cigarette paper." Most people with this condition will experience it on their anus and genital regions, and some will experience it on other parts of the...

Genital warts

Genital warts are one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It is caused by infection by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). While it cannot be cured, treatment may help.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: small groin lump, skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, painless groin lump, scaly groin bump

Symptoms that always occur with genital warts: scaly groin bump

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Jock itch (tinea cruris)

Tinea cruris is a common fungal infection of the skin in the groin area. It can cause ring-shaped redness, and sometimes itching or pain.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: groin redness, groin itch, scabbed area of the groin, rash, itchy rash

Symptoms that always occur with jock itch (tinea cruris): groin redness

Urgency: Self-treatment

How and When to Get Treated for an Itchy Penis

If you are experiencing an itch and discomfort in your genital area, you should make an appointment with your physician. The earlier you can be seen, the faster your penis itch symptoms will resolve. Furthermore, most causes of penile itchiness are treatable for most men.

When to see a doctor for penis itch

In order to better understand the cause, your physician may:

  • Test your urine to see if you have an infection
  • Swab the penis: This is to collect skin cells and determine if bacteria, yeast or other organisms is causing inflammation.

Depending on the findings, your doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Antibiotics: It is important to take the antibiotics as instructed to be effective.
  • Topical steroid cream: If your itching is due to a dermatologic condition, your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid cream to reduce the inflammation and skin changes.
  • Anti-fungal medication or cream: Similar to antibiotics that treat bacteria, anti-fungals treat fungal causes of your penis itch symptoms.

If you are looking to prevent these penis itch symptoms, there are things you can do at home

The following can be easily changed in your routine to help your keep discomfort at bay:

  • Use mild hygiene products: Limit the use of any scented bath and body products to reduce risk of irritation.
  • Use lubrication and condoms during sexual activity: This is to protect yourself from irritation and sexually transmitted infections.
  • Wear breathable clothing around the genital area: Such as cotton or bamboo. Maintain proper hygiene keep your genital area clean.

When it is an emergency

Make another appointment with your doctor or go straight to the hospital if:

This can be a sign of a serious infection that requires immediate medical attention.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Penis Itch

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

  • Do you notice anything going on with your penis?
  • Do you feel pain when you urinate?
  • Do you notice anything going on with your testicles or scrotum?
  • Have you noticed any changes in the color of your urine recently?

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

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

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your penis itch

Penis Itch Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced penis itch have also experienced:

  • 16% Penile Skin Changes
  • 8% Penis Pain
  • 5% Scrotal Itch

People who have experienced penis itch were most often matched with:

  • 57% Scabies
  • 28% Urinary Tract Infection
  • 14% Penile Irritation

People who have experienced penis itch had symptoms persist for:

  • 36% Less than a week
  • 23% Less than a day
  • 18% Over a month

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

Penis Itch Symptom Checker

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Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.