Why Is My Foreskin Red and Sore?
When we talk about penile health, it is a mistake to think it only concerns sexual health. While the penis is a sex organ, the problems aren't necessarily related to sexual intercourse with another person. In fact, personal hygiene can be just as an important factor if we have problems with our penis. One common symptom is when the foreskin or tip of the penis becomes red and sore. Regardless of the cause, redness of the foreskin is not something we should ignore. The problem can be quite serious and may need urgent attention.
At oneHOWTO, we explain the reasons why my penis is red and sore. We not only explain why the phenomenon occurs, but we look at how to treat and prevent foreskin redness.
Reasons my foreskin is read
The tip of the penis changes depending on whether you are circumcised. An uncircumcised penis will still have the foreskin attached to the glans penis. Uncircumcised penises will have no foreskin and the glans penis will be permanently exposed.
When the tip of the penis is inflamed, we refer to it differently depending on its state of circumcision. They are:
- Balanitis: this is the term for the swelling of the glans penis which should usually only apply to an uncircumcised penis.
- Balanoposthitis: when the foreskin and glans penis are swollen, something which can only affect uncircumcised penises.
Although balanitis can refer to any type of penis, it is very unlikely for an uncircumcised glans penis to inflame without the foreskin doing the same. It is also less common in people who are circumcised. In general, the main causes of redness of the penis include:
- Poor hygiene
- Foreskin tightness
- Hypersensitivity after sex
- Bacterial infection
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- Other diseases
Red foreskin from poor hygiene
Showering regularly and washing your private area is important to maintain penile hygiene. Neglecting personal hygiene can help microorganisms contained in the local flora proliferate. When these microorganisms are bacteria, it can lead to harmful pathogens.
How often you wash your penis is not the only important factor. It is also vital you use the right products for your skin type, something we explain further below. It is also possible to wash your penis too much if you take to scrubbing or using abrasive products on your penis. The penis has sensitive skin, so you must treat it accordingly.
To solve the problem with hygiene, you should ensure you wash the area every day. Use a suitable product and be thorough, but gentle. It is particularly important for uncircumcised penises as dirt can bacteria can accumulate under the foreskin. However, everyone should clean daily with a neutral or mild pH soap and warm water.
For more information, take a look at our article on how to stop an uncircumcised penis from smelling.
The foreskin is a prepuce which covers and protects the glans penis. When the penis is extended, the foreskin rolls out and allows the glans penis to pass over it without problem. When the foreskin is too tight, the glans will not be able to move easily.
Tightness of the foreskin is usually caused by a problem from birth. If the opening of the foreskin is too narrow, it may not be able to pass over the glans penis. When the inner surface of the foreskin is fused to the penis, this can also happen. Also, when the frenulum (the connective tissue between penis and foreskin) is too tight, it can restrict movement of the foreskin.
Phimosis is the term for the foreskin being too tight. It can seriously irritate the tip of the penis and cause it to become red and sore. You will need to go to a doctor for diagnosis which may require surgical intervention as treatment.
Foreskin redness after intercourse
Sexual intercourse can cause the foreskin to redden, especially if the sex is very energetic or prolonged. Some people also have greater sensitivity in their private area than others. For this reason, the friction caused by various types of sexual intercourse can result in a red foreskin.
In most cases, the redness will go away on its own after a short time. However, if the redness does not go away, a friction burn or some other damage may have been caused. If this happens, you will need to go to a doctor for treatment to avoid permanent damage.
An increase in bacteria can be a reason the foreskin and glans penis becomes red and/or swollen. Since the area is both warm and humid, it is a conducive place for bacteria to proliferate. It is also possible for a small cut on the foreskin to become infected by bacteria. For this reason, it is important to monitor the penis consistently.
The best way to prevent bacterial infection is to have safe sex and maintain proper hygiene. However, if you have a bacterial infection on your penis for whatever reason, it is important you go to a doctor. They will likely treat the problem with antibiotics.
Take a look at our article on how to heal a wound on the penis to learn more about penile bacterial infections.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Sexually transmitted diseases and infections vary according to cause and symptoms. They are passed on from an infected person to another during various types of sexual intercourse. The infected person may or may not be aware they have the STI at the time of intercourse. There are many different symptoms, depending on the type of STI. However, redness of the penis tip and soreness (especially when urinating) are two of the most common.
While different contraceptives can be used to prevent pregnancy, the condom is the most effective for avoiding STIs. Even with use of a condom, there is still a risk of infection, but it is greatly minimized. Unfortunately, many STIs are asymptomatic in their early stages. For this reason, the disease may have progressed significantly by the time swelling and redness occurs.
Some common STIs are related to bacteria or fungi. These problems are often treatable with antibiotics or antifungal medications. However, the viral infection HIV is more serious and will require management with drugs for the remainder of the individual's life.
Some STIs are more infectious than others, but they can also affect different people in different ways. If left untreated all STIs can cause long-term problems. If you have an STI, you should not have sex with someone else unless without their knowledge of your condition.
To learn more about a particularly serious STI, take a look at how syphilis is spread.
The use of certain soaps, laundry detergents, and certain condoms (e.g. if you have a latex allergy) can lead to allergic reactions on the penis. Since the foreskin is one of the most sensitive areas, this can be inflamed more easily than others. As a consequence, the risk of the foreskin becoming swollen and red is considerable.
A medical check-up will help you know if you have any type of skin allergies. Do not take medication on your own and always follow the doctor's instructions. A dermatologist may be needed to determine the allergen causing the swelling of the foreskin or glans penis.
Red foreskin from other diseases
Various diseases have symptoms which can affect disparate areas of the body. Redness and inflammation can be derived from circulation problems, hormonal imbalances and others. While they won't necessarily be primary symptoms, they may affect the penis if there are secondary issues.
For example, people with diabetes or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are more susceptible to having an irritated foreskin. Usually there is not a direct treatment for the irritation, as it would only alleviate the discomfort. There many be drugs used for symptom management, but usually the primary health issue needs to be managed for the swelling to go away. You will need to speak to your physician to know the correct course of action as the clinical picture is often complicated.
Now you know the possible reasons why your foreskin is red and sore, you can see it is important to never ignore these symptoms. If you want to learn more, take a look at our articles on what are the most common penis shapes and when does a penis stop growing.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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