Why Is My Foreskin Itchy?

Reviewed on 7/15/2021

ICommon causes of itchy foreskin include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia or herpes, balanitis, a yeast infection, or an allergy to latex condoms. To find out the cause, you will need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Common causes of itchy foreskin include sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia or herpes, balanitis, a yeast infection, or an allergy to latex condoms. To find out the cause, you will need to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

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: 

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
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • 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 
  • Hives
  • Rash

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: 

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:

QUESTION

Condoms are the best protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). See Answer

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Reviewed on 7/15/2021
References
https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/foreskin-care

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/balanitis-in-adults?search=Balanitis&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~61&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H19

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/chlamydia-beyond-the-basics?search=Chlamydia&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/genital-herpes-the-basics?search=herpes&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/default.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/thrush-in-men

https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/symptoms-and-diseases/latex-allergy