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Why Are There Red Spots on My Penis?

Published on Jun 06, 2022 and last reviewed on Nov 11, 2022   -  5 min read


Red spots on the penis can occur due to irritation or infection. This article will discuss the various conditions causing red spots on the penis.


Red spots on the penis can occur due to an irritation or an infection (commonly sexually transmitted infections). It can be a normal condition and tends to happen often since the skin of the penis is extremely sensitive. But in some cases, it can be due to serious factors and needs immediate care.

What Are the Various Conditions That Cause Red Spots on the Penis?

Various conditions can cause red spots on the penis, and they are,

1. Syphilis - Syphilis is a serious condition caused by Treponema pallidum and is spread by contact with the sore during sexual contact. It can spread through the open cut or a wound. If it is diagnosed in the early stages, syphilis can be treated with a Penicillin injection. But if the condition becomes severe, it can affect other body parts like the heart and brain. Syphilis can also spread from an infected mother to a child, called congenital syphilis.

The first sign of syphilis infection is the appearance of a sore on the penis or at the site through which the infection has entered the body. A few of the other symptoms are sore throat, fever, rashes on other parts of the body, and hair loss. In severe stages, it will affect the various body parts.

Penicillin is the only treatment found to work wonders. In case, if the patient is allergic to Penicillin, then it is recommended for the patient to undergo a desensitization process to receive the Penicillin shot.

2. Genital Herpes - Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and is transmitted by sexual intercourse. It presents with red spots on the penis filled with pus. It spreads through a cut on the skin or the mucous membrane that lines the mouth and genitals. Herpes simplex virus is predominantly seen in the saliva, semen, and vaginal discharges. Babies born through a vaginal delivery tend to acquire the herpes infection from an infected mother.

The first sign of infection will be a red sore on the genitals (penis, vagina, or mouth). These blisters will be filled with pus which becomes itchy. Other symptoms include general discomfort, pain, scarring or bleeding ulcers, etc.

Genital herpes cannot be cured but can be treated to prevent new blisters from occurring and the existing sores from healing quickly. Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Valacyclovir. In case of a serious infection, intravenous Acyclovir will help.

3. Balanitis - It is not a serious condition. Balanitis is characterized by the inflammation of the head of the penis (glans) due to an infection or poor hygiene maintenance. It will cause pain and discomfort and can be managed with topical medications. Signs of balanitis affecting the glans of the penis are red sores, foul smell, painful urination, firm skin, redness of the skin, swollen glands, etc.

Balanitis can be treated with antifungal tablets like Fluconazole and topical antifungals like Clotrimazole and Nystatin. A mild topical steroid will be prescribed in some cases.

4. Scabies - Scabies is a skin condition caused by an eight-legged human itch mite. The mite tends to enter the skin and continuously feed on it. It can be easily transmitted through skin contact and mostly during sexual contact. It is almost invisible to naked eyes and can affect individuals of all ages and sexes.

The sign of scabies is itchy skin, sores or blisters on the penis and other areas of the body, scaly skin, and rashes.

The treatment for scabies will include medications like Permethrin cream, Benzyl benzoate lotion, Lindane lotion, and Sulfur ointment.

5. Molluscum Contagiosum - It is relatively a non-serious condition caused by a pox virus. It can be easily transmitted from one person to another by sharing bed sheets, towels, or any materials. It is can occur in people of all age groups but is commonly found in children. Both the sexes are equally affected. It presents with blisters or sores all over the body, including genitals. The sores will be flesh-colored, firm, shiny, and dome-shaped. It often causes an itchy sensation. It is suggested not to itch or pick on the sores because the virus will spread to all parts of the body, causing great discomfort.

Molluscum contagiosum does not require treatment as the sores will heal on their own in a period of six months to eighteen months. But in case the patients are bothered about the large sores and spreading infection, a doctor may suggest the following treatments.

  • Freezing the bumps (cryosurgery) with liquid nitrogen can be done.

  • Destroying the bumps using a laser is also recommended.

  • Topical application of creams containing iodine and salicylic acid, Cantharidin, and Imiquimod to peel off the skin, are also available.

6. Jock Itch - Jock itch is a non-serious condition but presents with an itchy sensation. It is caused by a mold-like fungus called dermatophytes. Overweight people, teenagers, and men are most likely to acquire jock itch. It is characterized by the presence of red spots on genitals, rashes, flaky skin, burning, and painful sensations. Jock itch can be easily treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, sprays, and powder. Clotrimazole is the most commonly prescribed drug.

7. Yeast Infection - It is also known as thrush and is not a sexually transmitted disease. It can be spread by coming in contact with the infection. It is caused by Candida albicans. The head of the penis will present with redness, red sores, white discharge, thick foreskin, and a burning sensation. It can be treated with antifungal creams and tablets. The most commonly prescribed drugs are Clotrimazole and Miconazole.

8. Genital Eczema - Genital eczema is caused by environmental factors like stress and smoking. It is a condition of the skin presenting with itch and inflammation. Of all the four types, atopic dermatitis is the one that affects the penis, especially the penis. The affected penis will present red spots and a rash. Other symptoms include dry, scaly, and crusty skin, swelling, and irritation. Genital eczema can be treated with topical antibiotics like Mupirocin and topical corticosteroids like Hydrocortisone.

9. Contact Dermatitis - It is caused when the skin comes in contact with an allergic substance. It tends to cause blisters filled with pus, which sometimes bursts. It also shows signs of an itch, swelling, and scaly skin.

Contact dermatitis will not need any specific treatment as it heals on its own. In certain cases, a dermatologist will prescribe mild topical or oral corticosteroids to ease the signs and symptoms. Doctors should be sought in case the blister is popped, if there is fever, or if the infection is spreading beyond the penis.

10. Genital Psoriasis - Psoriasis is believed to be an immunity disorder influenced by factors like stress and infection. It is characterized by red spots on the penis, an itch, dry skin that bleeds, pain, swelling, and burning sensation. Genital psoriasis can be treated with topical corticosteroids like Hydrocortisone, retinoids like Soriatane, and phototherapy.

11. Bowenoid Papulosis - Bowenoid papulosis is a rare condition, transmitted sexually and is caused by the type 16 human papillomavirus (HPV). The genitals will present with red spots. It heals on its own, but in case of mild infection, topical Fluorouracil will be prescribed. Cryosurgery and laser surgery will also be prescribed in case of need.


Red spots appearing on the penis can be due to various reactions. Some might be normal, and some might need rigorous treatment. So it is advisable to seek a doctor when something suspicious is found. However, with proper treatment, most of the conditions can be managed.

Last reviewed at:
11 Nov 2022  -  5 min read




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