If there are any 2 words that can strike fear into any man’s heart they are probably “Penis Infection.”
Infections of the penis can occur in several areas.
1.) Infection of the urine tube inside the penis.
Urethritis is a penis infection of the urine tube inside the penis. Patients usually feel burning pain passing urine and sometimes a liquid dripping out of the penis (penile discharge). Patients can also get a urethritis but not have any symptoms at all.
Most cases of urethritis are caused by Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. Both of these are sexually transmitted infections. They can be caught via any kind of sexual exposure including oral sex, anal sex and vaginal sex. Less commonly known STDs that can also cause a Urethritis are non-specific urethritis (NSU), Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma.
Fortunately, these infections are often easily treated with antibiotics.
2.) Infection of the head of the penis and foreskin.
Penis infections that affect the head and/or the foreskin are known as Balanitis. Patients usually notice redness and bumps on the head. Sometimes, this can also cause itching or pain. Some men notice an increased accumulation of a thick white substance (smegma) under the foreskin. This usually occurs more in men who are not circumcised.
Balanitis is most commonly caused by a fungal infection. Sometimes, bacterial infections can also cause Balanitis. Men who get repeated or severe fungal infections of the head of the penis may be suffering from a disease that depresses their immune system like Diabetes. In fact, there are many cases that men find out they have Diabetes when they see their doctors for a balanitis.
Of course, any infection that can affect the rest of the penis skin can also affect the head and the foreskin. We will discuss this in our next section.
3.) Infection of the skin of the penis
Penis infections that involve the skin usually involve the shaft and the base of the penis. Of course, these infections can also affect the head and foreskin.
Many different infections can affect the skin. Some are sexually transmitted and some are not.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Some examples of STIs include:
- Herpes which show up as tender or painful blisters or ulcers on the skin
- Syphilis which usually shows up as a single painless large ulcer
- Chancroid which shows up as a single painful large ulcer with very swollen groin lymph nodes
- Human Papilloma Virus which show up as cauliflower like growths on the skin (warts)
- Molluscum Contagiosum Virus which shows up as pearly lumps stuck to the skin
non-Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Some examples of non-STD skin infections include:
- Impetigo which shows up as an itchy rash with yellow crusting
- Folliculitis which shows up as painless small red spots
- Sebaceous abscess which shows up like a pimple or boil
Remember that not all redness or lumps on the skin are infections. There are other skin problems that can look like infections. Seeing a doctor for a proper diagnosis is the best thing to do.
4.) Infections elsewhere that can sound like infections of the penis
Sometimes, the infection is not in the penis itself but the symptoms might appear on the penis therefore making a person think the penis itself is infected.
A bladder infection (cystitis) is an infection of the bladder caused by bacteria. This is usually not an STD. It can cause burning pain passing urine and even the feeling of needing to go to the toilet very often. Men do not usually get bladder infections. If they do, it could be due to stones in the bladder. That said, passing out a stone from the bladder can also cause pain in the penis making a person believe there is a penis infection.
Prostate Gland Infection
An infection of the prostate gland can also cause pain at the tip of the penis. This is because the nerves that go to the prostate gland also go to the tip of the penis. So our brains may mistake pain signals from the prostate gland as coming from the tip of the penis. People will then also think that the infection is in the penis.
If you think you have a penis infection, do not worry and do not jump to conclusions. Please go to see a doctor for professional advice.