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Dermatology/Red shiny spot on penis


I have had a shiny red circle on the shaft of my penis for a few weeks now and it does not seem to be going away. It has gotten larger since I first noticed it a few weeks ago. It does not hurt or itch. It is just irritating to not know what it is. I have tried fungal cream and moisturizer but neither have helped it go away. Could somebody please tell me what this is? What would be the best way to get rid of it? I am only 20 and I am positive it is not an STD.

Penile plaques do not usually have a serious cause, but some are infectious and others may develop into more serious conditions. Rarely, erythroplasia of Queyrat, lichen sclerosis and balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) may lead to the development of penile cancer.Make sure you seek prompt medical advice about penile plaques.
Balanitis and posthitis: balanitis is an inflammatory condition of the glans penis. Posthitis is an inflammatory condition of the foreskin. Symptoms include local irritation, burning and a red rash. Sometimes the skin appears to be peeling off as if scalded. Bacteria and yeasts such as candida can cause it. It is more common in older men and those with diabetes. It can be treated with appropriate antimicrobial creams.
Erythroplasia of Queyrat: this rare condition appears as a sharply demarcated bright red plaque with a velvety surface. It is usually painless, and not itchy. It is an early manifestation of penile cancer and needs prompt diagnosis and treatment. Excision of the affected area is usually curative. It is not infectious.
Zoon's plasma cell balanitis: Zoon's balanitis appears as a bright red, shiny-surfaced plaque on the glans or inner surface of the foreskin. It is usually painless but may be accompanied by itching. The cause is unknown. It may respond to application of steroid cream, but frequently recurs. Circumcision is curative, but not essential. It is a harmless condition but can be confused with the much more serious condition of Erythroplasia of Queyrat. It is not infectious.
Lichen sclerosis and balanitis xerotica obliterans: lichen sclerosis appears as white plaques on the glans, foreskin or shaft of the penis. It usually has no symptoms, although burning and irritation have been reported. Balanitis xerotica obliterans is a severe form of lichen sclerosis affecting the foreskin of uncircumcised men. The opening or edge of the foreskin is firm and has a white scarred appearance. This may interfere with passing urine or sex. Both conditions may, rarely, lead to penile cancer and circumcision may be necessary. They are not infectious.
Psoriasis: see above, under papules.
Eczema: most commonly affects other parts of the body, but occasionally may first appear on the penis. In such cases, it may be a skin reaction to an irritant, and it's often described as 'dermatitis'. Eczema appears as diffuse red plaques with a poorly defined edge and finely scaled surface. It frequently causes quite severe irritation. There are a number of effective treatments available, such as steroid creams. It's not infectious.

Without seeing the lesion it is difficult to make a diagnosis. You should really see your local dermatologist. I just mentioned possibilities for your skin condition. Treatment depends on the cause.


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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>


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