There are a number of reasons the foreskin, the sheath of skin that covers the head (glans) of the penis, might be itchy.
Some common causes of itchy foreskin include:
- A common condition that causes inflammation of the head of the penis
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also referred to as sexually transmitted infections, or STIs)
- Yeast infection
- A fungal infection caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans
- Allergy to latex condoms
What Symptoms May Accompany Itchy Foreskin?
Symptoms that may accompany itchy foreskin depend on the cause.
Additional symptoms of balanitis include:
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain, tenderness, or redness on the head of the penis (glans)
- Difficulty retracting the foreskin
- White or yellow buildup under the foreskin (smegma)
- Impotence (difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, also called erectile dysfunction, or ED)
- Pain with erection
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Fever (uncommon)
- Difficulty urinating or inability to urinate (in very severe cases)
Additional symptoms of chlamydia include:
- Burning or pain with urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain or tenderness of the testicles
- Swelling in the scrotum
Additional symptoms of genital herpes include:
- Blisters in the genital area
- In men, this area includes the penis, scrotum, anus, buttocks, or thighs
- Sores may look like pimples or fluid-filled blisters that are red, white, or yellow
- Blisters may become painful open sores, which ooze and develop a yellow-colored crust as they heal
- There may be a single sore or a cluster of sores
- Blisters on the mouth or lips
- Pain in the joints
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
Additional symptoms of a yeast infection may include:
- Burning on the tip of the penis or the foreskin
- Redness or a red rash on the penis
- Moist skin on the penis
- Swelling around the tip of the penis and foreskin
- Discharge that looks like cottage cheese that may have a bread-like or unpleasant smell
- Sores or white patches of skin
- Difficulty pulling back the foreskin
- Difficulty urinating or controlling the urine stream
- Problems getting or keeping an erection
If untreated, yeast infection in males can develop into balanitis.
Additional symptoms of latex allergy may include:
- Redness and swelling
What Is the Treatment for Itchy Foreskin?
It is important to see a doctor to diagnose the cause of itchy foreskin, as treatment depends on the cause.
Treatment for balanitis depends on the underlying cause but it starts with cleaning the head of the penis (glans) and foreskin.
In many cases, self-care at home may be all that is needed. To properly clean the head of the penis and foreskin retract the foreskin and gently clean with soap and warm water.
If the cause of balanitis is an infection or inflammation, treatment may include:
- Antifungal creams or ointments applied topically
- Topical steroids
- Antibiotic creams such as bacitracin
- If there is evidence of infection to the skin (cellulitis), oral antibiotics such as cephalosporins may be prescribed
Severe balanitis that causes urinary obstruction is a medical emergency that may require local incisions to the foreskin and possibly corrective surgery.
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
- Sexual partners should also receive treatment because it is possible to be reinfected
- Patients should be retested three months after treatment of the initial infection
- Sex should be avoided until both the patient and partner have been treated
Genital herpes is treated with:
- Antiviral medicines
- Sitz baths
- Keeping the genital area clean and dry
- Avoiding tight clothing
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Treatment for yeast infection in males usually includes topical antifungal ointments and creams. Many of these are available over-the-counter (OTC), such as:
- Miconazole (Lotrimin AF, Cruex, Desenex, Ting Antifungal)
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Anti-Fungal, Cruex, Desenex, Lotrimin AF Ringworm)
- Imidazole (Canesten, Selezen)
Allergy to latex condoms is treated with:
- Antihistamine cream
- Hydrocortisone cream
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