ZocdocAnswersWhat causes discloration of the foreskin?

Question

What causes discloration of the foreskin?

I'm an uncircumcised man (34 years old), and my foreskin has been looking pretty strange lately. It is turning a darker red color than the skin on the rest of my penis, and it has an almost lacy white film on it. How seriously should I take this? Can I give it a week to see if it improves before running off to a doctor?

Answer

There are a number of conditions which can infect the skin of the genitals and the foreskin. Physicians who would be well qualified to discuss this condition with you include your primary care physician, family medicine physician, or a urologist. A common cause of redness of the foreskin with a white film on top of it would be a yeast infection of the head of the penis. This infection is often caused by not cleaning sufficiently under the foreskin, although it can at times be a sign of another underlying medical disorder such as diabetes. Sexually transmitted infections can also cause reddened ulcerated areas which also resemble blisters under the foreskin or on the head of the penis. These include herpes and syphilis. Herpes ulcers tend to be painful whereas syphilis ulcers are often painless. Allergic reactions and inflammatory conditions of the skin can also cause redness of the foreskin or penile skin. These can be related to the use of strong personal care products or to an underlying medical condition, such as psoriasis. Rarely, reddened lesions on the penis are cancerous or pre-cancerous. As always, diagnosis and management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by a personal physician. It is recommended that you make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss your condition.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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