Penis sores

Reviewed by Frank Cockerill, MD, July 21, 2017

Penis sores can have a number of causes and should be evaluated by a doctor in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

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Penile lesions and blisters typically appear as patches on the skin and may burst to leave open sores on the penis.

Can penile sores and blisters be symptoms of an STD?

Yes. Getting tested regularly is the best way to stay up-to-date on your sexual health. If you are having unprotected sex or sex with a new partner, STD testing may be the right decision for you.

Most men are surprised to learn that penile sores and blisters can be symptoms of syphilis, herpes simplex virus type 1, or herpes simplex virus type 2.

Syphilis is curable with antibiotics if detected and treated early. As long as it’s treated in the early stages, long-term risks associated with syphilis are minimal.

There is not a cure for herpes type 1 or herpes type 2. Antiviral medications can help prevent the spread of herpes type 1 & 2 but it is not a 100% guarantee. By taking prescribed medications, patients who test positive for herpes type 1 & 2 can help reduce the risk of infecting others, while being sexually active.

Untreated STDs can cause long term health problems for patients, so it's important to get tested if you believe you're at risk.

Before you can discuss treatment options with a doctor, you need to get tested.

What are penile sores and blisters?

Outside of STDs there are two infections that can cause blisters and sores to appear on the penis.

Scabies, a type of contagious skin infection that is caused by a parasite, can sometimes cause blisters or lesions on the penis. It is often accompanied by an itching feeling, which may lead to the formation of a rash or blisters. Topical medications are available for treatment if a doctor diagnoses you with scabies.

Yeast infections are more common among women, although men can get them as well. A male yeast infection usually causes redness and itching on the head of the penis. In some cases, small white blisters may appear. The primary method of transmission is sexual activity with an infected female partner.Without treatment for both partners, it is possible or the yeast infection to be transferred back and forth indefinitely.

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