Penis Ulcer


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By Medicover Hospitals / 11 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | penis-ulcer
  • A sore is a painful lump or wound. Sores can occur anywhere on the skin, including the penis. Ulcers on the penis are often the result of a sexually transmitted infection or skin condition. While some penises heal on their own, many people need treatment to prevent the symptoms from getting worse, so that complications develop and spread to others.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is a Penis Ulcer?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Prevention
    7. FAQ's

    What is a Penis Ulcer?

  • A penile ulcer can be on the vulva, penis, perianal area, or anus. Globally, the incidence of penile ulcers is estimated at around 20 million cases per year. The most likely cause of a penile ulcer varies depending on the characteristics of a population and location. The most common cause of penile ulcers in the United States is herpes simplex, with syphilis the second most common cause and chancroid the third. These common causes of penile ulcers (HSV-1, HSV-2, and treponema pallidum) can all be effectively transmitted through oral sex.
  • Important signs associated with penile ulcers that can help diagnose the cause of the penile ulcer may include tender or non-tender enlarged lymph nodes in the groin area, a painful or non-painful penile ulcer, or vesicular lesions, which are small, painful, raised blisters.
  • The most common causes of a penile ulcer include infectious agents, with sexually transmitted diseases being the most common, but which can also include fungal infections and secondary bacterial infections. Although infectious agents are the most common cause, a penile ulcer can also result from non-infectious causes such as Behcet's syndrome, lupus, or psoriasis.
  • Causes:

    Genital Herpes:

  • Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is transmitted from one person to another during sexual activities. The herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes. Its symptoms can include painful, itchy, fluid-filled swollen sores on the penis and other parts of the genitals. If these blisters appear, they can leave scars.
  • Genital Warts:

  • They appear on the penis as small, bumpy growths, sometimes stem-like, like cauliflower. Genital warts can cause itching and discomfort.
  • Syphilis:

  • Syphilis is a serious bacterial infection and another type of STI. In the early stages of infection, syphilis usually causes a red, hard, and painless sore on the penis. This sore lasts 3 to 6 weeks.
    • Cardiovascular problems
    • Dementia
    • Hearing or vision loss
    • Increased risk of HIV infection
    • Meningitis
    • Pregnancy, childbirth, and fetal complications

    Inguinal Granuloma:

  • Inguinal granuloma is a bacterial SOI that causes ulcers on the genitals. Initially, the infection causes small, painless bumps. Over time, these sores slowly turn into deeper sores that bleed.
  • Psoriasis:

  • Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that causes red, scaly patches. In the penis and genitals, it can cause:
    • A red rash with silver scales
    • Dry, crusty skin can bleed
    • Itching, pain, and discomfort

    Gastric or Peptic Ulcer:

  • Gastric ulcers usually occur on the feet. However, at least one case report describes penile ulcers due to diabetes. Here, the fungicide used cream and medication to control the blood sugar levels.
  • Penis Cancer:

  • Penis cancer is a rare form of cancer. Usually, the first symptom is a change in the skin of the penis, such as:
    • A lump or a small crusty sore or ulcer that may bleed
    • Changes in skin color
    • Thickening of the skin
    • A rash under the foreskin
    • Odor secretion or bleeding under the foreskin
    • Flat growth


  • Diagnosing the condition may involve taking samples of the fluid coming out of the sore. For examination, these samples are sent to a laboratory.
  • Currently, the diagnosis of chancroid is not possible through blood tests. Your doctor may also monitor your groin lymph nodes for swelling and discomfort. It is important to note that chancroid can sometimes be difficult to diagnose by visual examination only, as it is similar to STIs such as genital herpes and syphilis.
  • Treatment:


  • Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers. Antibiotics can also help reduce the chance of scarring as the ulcer heals. Your doctor will determine which antibiotics and doses are best based on your healthcare needs. It is important to take your antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor and take the full antibiotics, even if you notice that your sores have started to improve.
  • Surgery:

  • Your doctor may drain a large, painful abscess in your lymph nodes with a needle or with surgery. It reduces swelling and pain as the sore heals, but it can cause scarring on the site.
  • Prevention:

  • The only sure way to prevent chancroid is to avoid all sexual contact and activities. However, celibacy in general is not a realistic option for most people.
  • Other ways to reduce your risk of developing chancroid are:
    • Limit or reduce the number of sex partners
    • Wear protection at all times during sexual contact or intercourse
    • Check the genital area regularly for signs of abnormal lumps, sores, or swollen lymph nodes
    • Talk to your sexual partners about testing for sexually transmitted diseases or your sexually
    • Transmitted diseases before having sexual contact
    • Ask your sex partners about unusual sores or bumps in your genital area
    • Talk to a doctor about unexplained groin pain
    • To be tested regularly for STIs
    • Avoid or limit alcohol use and avoid drug use for recreation, as it may affect the judgment of healthy options

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • They are usually caused by sexually transmitted infections or STIs. These include herpes, syphilis, and chancroid. Gastric ulcers can also be caused by inflammatory diseases, trauma, or adverse reactions to skincare products.
  • Even without treatment, some stomach ulcers will heal on their own. And even with treatment, stomach ulcers sometimes come back. Certain factors such as smoking and continued use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) increase the risk of stomach ulcers returning.
  • Fortunately, chancroid can be cured if you treat it early. If caught early, this disease can be treated with antibiotics. If the signs of success of the disease disappear and the infection does not spread further.
  • If left untreated, chancroid can seriously damage the skin and genitals.
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