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Itchy Penis: 5 Causes and 5 Tips

man scratching crotch with hands

We’ve all been there before.

You’re in a public place when your junk starts itching like crazy.

So, what do you do?

You “sneakily” find relief by scratching yourself through your pocket (FYI, everyone knows what you’re doing), only for the problem to strike again a few minutes later.

Don’t worry! An irritated and itchy penis is not necessarily a cause for panic.

There are several causes of penile irritation, most of which are completely harmless.

Still, you probably want to get some relief for your penile itch ASAP.

Below, we’ll cover a few common causes of itchy penis and tips to stop the itch.

Here are three things you should know about itchy penis:

  • Itchy penis is often caused by infections, excess moisture and contact irritants.
  • Keeping your groin area clean and dry can help reduce the itch.
  • If nothing seems to alleviate the itching, see a doctor about your penile itching.

Why Is My Penis Itchy?

An itchy penis usually isn’t the end of the world.

Here are a few common causes of itchy penis, most of which are relatively benign:

1. Balanitis

If your itchy penis is also sore, smelly and inflamed, it could be balanitis.

Often caused by infections such as thrush, balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis.

According to a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, balanitis is particularly common in guys who are uncircumcised (see claim: “Penile inflammatory skin conditions such as balanitis and posthitis are common, especially in uncircumcised males…”)

Although it’s usually not serious, balanitis can be uncomfortable.

The easiest way to get rid of balanitis is by seeing your doctor for an anti-yeast prescription.

2. Contact Dermatitis

Have you ever tried a new skin care product or a laundry detergent that ended up causing a rash on your skin?

When your skin comes into contact with a substance it’s allergic to, it’s called contact dermatitis.

The most common causes of contact dermatitis on the penis are latex condoms and irritating lubricants.

You might try switching to condoms and lubes for sensitive skin to see if it helps the itching.

TRY MEN’S SKIN CARE

3. Ingrown Hair

More guys are taking a razor to their bits than ever before.

According to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health, more than half of men shave their pubic hair (see claim: “Of these men, 2,120 (50.5%) reported regular pubic hair grooming.”)

If you count yourself among that group of guys, your itchy penis could be the result of an ingrown hair caused by shaving.

Ingrown hairs on the penis usually develop near the base where there is more pubic hair.

man wiping sweat locker room

4. Jock Itch

Jock itch is a fungal infection that appears in the form of a red, itchy rash.

Although jock itch primarily affects the groin and upper thighs, it can spread to other parts of the body, including the penis.

Symptoms of jock itch can range from mild itching to painful burning and a rash with raised edges.

For mild cases, an anti-fungal powder or cream will usually be enough to get rid of the problem.

More severe cases may require a prescription from a doctor.

5. Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD)

Not to make you panic, but there is a chance that your itchy penis is a STD, such as genital herpes.

Genital herpes symptoms in men include pain, itching and tenderness in the genital area.

You may also experience ulcers or small, red bumps on the shaft and head of the penis.

Tips to Stop the Itch

Depending on the underlying cause of your itchy penis, you may need to see a doctor to get the problem under control.

In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to alleviate the need to scratch:

1. Apply a Cold Compress

The more you itch your penis, the itchier it will become.

A cold compress can help provide temporary relief that is just long enough to get you to stop the constant scratching.

Never apply ice directly to the skin on your penis.

Wrap ice in a paper towel or a cloth before you apply it to your skin.

TAKE THE SKIN CARE QUIZ

2. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothes

Do you frequently work out in tight clothes?

Tight clothing, combined with moisture from sweat, can lead to friction that irritates the skin.

Try wearing looser-fitting clothes to the gym and stick to moisture-wicking fabrics.

tiege hanley daily wash bar

3. Avoid Harsh Soaps and Detergents

Some substances in men’s body washes and soaps can dry out the skin on the penis and cause itchiness below the belt.

Avoid fragrant soaps and switch your dehydrating bar soap for a nourishing body bar that is gentler on your skin.

4. Apply Moisturizer

Dealing with dry skin on your penis? Dry skin can lead to increased itchiness and irritation.

To stop the itch, try using a penile moisturizing cream on a daily basis.

5. Trim—Don’t Shave

Even when you do everything right, shaving below the belt can be tricky business.

If your manscaping is the reason behind your itchy penis, try trimming the area as opposed to going completely clean-shaven.

Itch Be Gone

For the most part, an itchy penis is nothing to lose sleep over.

If nothing seems to alleviate your constant need to scratch, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get the problem under control.


References

Morris, Brian J, and John N Krieger. “Penile Inflammatory Skin Disorders and the Preventive Role of Circumcision.” International journal of preventive medicine vol. 8 32. 4 May. 2017.

Gaither, Thomas W et al. “Prevalence and Motivation: Pubic Hair Grooming Among Men in the United States.” American journal of men's health vol. 11,3 (2017): 620-640.

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