Serving all people by providing personalized health and wellness through exemplary care, education and research.

Health Source Library
Need something? Call us: 1.800.4BAYLOR(1.800.422.9567)
Text Size

911 warning

Return to Index

Penis Symptoms


Does this describe your symptoms?

Click image for more info

Pubic Lice
Pubic Lice :: CDC PHIL :: (click image to see Copyright)


  • Penis symptoms include rash, pain, discharge, itching and swelling

  • Not due to a known injury

General Information

Here are some common causes of penis symptoms:

  • Bladder infection (cystitis)

  • Contact dermatitis (e.g., latex condoms, lubricants, spermicides, perfumed soaps)

  • Irritation (small friction burns) after sexual intercourse or masturbation (inadequate lubrication)

  • Poison ivy, oak, or sumac rash

  • Priapism

  • Skin cancer

  • STD's (e.g., Herpes simplex, Syphilis, Chancroid, LGV, pubic lice, genital warts)

  • Trauma

  • Any preexisting skin disorders/rashes can also occur on the penis and scrotum (e.g., psoriasis, eczema, drug rashes)


  • Definition: Priapism is defined as an erection that lasts longer than 4 hours.

  • Symptoms: Prolonged, unwanted, usually painful erection.

  • Causes: Sickle cell anemia and certain medications.

  • Treatment: Erections lasting longer than 4 hours may require specialized treatment in an emergency department.

If not, see these topics


When to Call Your Doctor

call now

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • You feel weak or very sick

  • Large amount of blood from end of penis

  • Not circumcised, and foreskin pulled back and became stuck around head of penis

  • Fever and looks infected (e.g., draining sore, ulcer, rash is painful to touch)

  • Fever and burning (pain) with urination

  • Unable to urinate and your bladder feels very full

  • Painful erection lasting more than 1 hour

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If

  • You think you need to be seen

  • Burning or pain with urination

  • Pus (white, yellow) or bloody discharge from end of penis

  • Blood in urine

  • Looks infected (e.g., draining sore, ulcer, rash is painful to touch)

  • Rash with painful tiny water blisters

  • Swollen foreskin (not circumcised)

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns

  • You are worried you might have a sexually transmitted disease

  • Blood in semen

  • Painless rash (e.g., redness, tiny bumps, sore) that has been present more than 24 hours

  • Antibiotic treatment longer than 3 days for STD (e.g., penile discharge from gonorrhea, chlamydia) and painful urination is not improving

  • All other penis symptoms (Exception: painless rash present less than 24 hours, mild itchiness)

home care

Self Care at Home If

  • Painless rash (e.g., redness, tiny bumps, sore) that has been present less than 24 hours, and you don't think you need to be seen

  • Mild itchiness and no rash, and you don't think you need to be seen



  1. Causes of Mild Rash:

    • Irritation from a chemical product: perfumed soaps, latex condoms.

    • Irritation from a plant (e.g., poison ivy, evergreen), chemicals (e.g., insecticides), fiberglass, detergents.

    • Early finding of sexually transmitted disease (STD).

    • Small friction burns can occur from intercourse (if inadequate lubrication).

  2. Cleansing: Wash the area once thoroughly with unscented soap and water to remove any irritants.

  3. Genital Hygiene:

    • Keep your penis and scrotal area clean. Wash once daily with un-scented soap and water.

    • Keep your penis and scrotal area dry. Wear cotton underwear.

  4. Call Your Doctor If:

    • Rash spreads or becomes worse

    • Rash lasts more than one day

    • Fever occurs

    • You become worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.