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Penis Rash - Should You Be Worried?
A penis rash is actually quite common in men, but that does not mean that you should take it for granted. The wise thing to do is visit your doctor to get a clean bill of health. This article discusses some of the most common causes of penis rash but it is still no substitute for getting a professional medical diagnosis. Besides, you don't want to give your sex partners any cause for alarm now, do you?
There are generally three types of penis rash based on their appearance. These are ulcers, papules and plaques.
Ulcers are craters on your skin that are usually filled with a clear liquid or pus. They are thick around the edges and usually have a crust.
Papules are spots that are less than a centimeter in diameter and are characterized by lumps or lesions on the surface of the skin.
Plaques are lesions that are bigger than a centimeter in diameter and are raised and flat-topped.
If there is only one ulcer in your penis area, that's usually a sign of something serious. It may be syphilis, a highly contagious STD. If it's painless and foul smelling, it could be a tropical disease such as chancroid, granuloma inguinale or lymphogranuloma venereum. Penile cancer also appears as a single, painless ulcer (or may also appear as a papule). Early diagnosis is critical before it becomes life-threatening.
Having several ulcers is more common and less serious. They can be acute (lasts less than two weeks) or chronic (lasts more than two weeks).
Herpes simplex is the most common cause of penile ulcers and it is acute. The penis rash consists of many small blisters that break easily into painful ulcers. It can be transmitted through sex and is very contagious. The first herpes simplex attack normally comes with a fever.
Chronic ulcers such as Pemphigus and Behcet's disease usually infect other parts of the body such as the mouth, skin, nerves and joints, but may also be confined to the genital area.
Most papules in the genital area are harmless but some can be very, very serious. One such papule, molluscum contagiosum, is considered a red flag for unsafe sexual practices. This disease appears as numerous dome-like papules with a plug in the middle that produces a curd-like discharge when squeezed. Patients with this ailment are normally screened for HIV. This penis rash tends to disappear even without treatment.
One common penis rash is known as pearly penile papules and they usually appear as multiple papules around the crown area of the glans. About 10% of all men are affected by pearly penile papules, which are often mistaken for warts. They do not require any treatment and are not contagious.
While penile plaques are not a serious penis rash by themselves, they can sometimes develop into something more severe. For instance, such plaques as Erythroplasia of Queyrat, lichen sclerosis and balanitis xerotica obliterans can lead to penile cancer if left unattended.
A penis rash in plaque form may cause inflammation of the glans (balanitis) and of the foreskin (posthitis). Both are characterized by red rashes and a burning sensation as well as a peeling off of the skin.
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