Penile Redness: 7 Causes

Looking down to find a red penis is an unpleasant experience for any man. The causes of penile redness range from mild to severe, some allowing for home treatment while others require medical intervention. While seeking out diagnosis from a medical professional is always a smart move for maintaining penis health, it never hurts for guys to get familiar with the common causes of redness and steps to prevent it. The following will give men an idea of what might be up downstairs depending on which symptoms accompany redness.


If the redness is isolated to the head and foreskin and accompanied by inflammation and difficulty retracting the foreskin, men have reason to suspect balanitis. Technically, the name is given to any condition that involves inflammation of the head, but it generally is used to describe that which is caused by insufficient hygiene. When men don’t frequently wipe away the smegma that forms under the foreskin, the penis can become irritated. Upping the hygiene routine is a way to both treat and prevent balanitis.


Thrush, which also goes by the names yeast infection and candidiasis, can cause redness around the urethra along with a burning sensation upon urination and foul-smelling discharge from under the foreskin. Itching of the glans and difficulty retracting the foreskin are other common symptoms. Often, men contract yeast infections from female partners who are infected; using protection and making sure that one’s partner is treated are ways of preventing thrush from occurring. If a man is infected, he may use an antifungal cream, either over-the-counter or prescription, to get rid of it.

Men with diabetes are more prone to developing yeast infections. Managing diabetes is, then, a key step in preventing thrush for diabetics.


Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause penile redness, along with abnormal discharge and painful urination. Treatment involves taking antibiotics.


Gonorrhea is an STI as well and shares the same symptoms as chlamydia. It is also treated with antibiotics.


Syphilis is a very serious STI and requires early treatment in order to avoid severe consequences, including death. It initially manifests as a lesion on the penis. If caught early, it can be treated with antibiotics.

Contact Dermatitis

Men who notice red spots or splotches may be experiencing contact dermatitis, a form of eczema that occurs when the skin comes in contact with a substance that the body interprets as a threat. The skin may become dry and itchy. Identifying and avoiding the offending substance is key – common culprits include soaps, lotions, spermicides and detergents. A man may benefit from using a moisturizer to help his skin heal.


Perhaps the most common cause of penile redness along with dryness and sore skin is chafing from the friction of clothing, hands and partners’ bodies. If a man doesn’t use lube, or masturbates or has sex in a rough manner, he’s likely to suffer some chafing.

From the descriptions above, men can see that several causes of penile redness share many of the same symptoms (yeast infection, gonorrhea and chlamydia, for example). This underscores the importance of seeking proper diagnosis. A man who uses an antifungal cream thinking he has a yeast infection may actually have an STI that he can pass along to partners. Not only penile health but sexual responsibility require that men know exactly what is affecting them.

While men’s skin heals from rashes and infections, they may benefit from using a quality penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). While such a lotion should not be applied to broken skin, it can help dry, flaky skin recover; it can also help prevent redness from friction by keeping the skin moisturized and more resilient. Shea butter and vitamin E form a great tag team against dry, itchy skin, promoting optimal penile health.

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