Dermatology/Spots on penis


Hello Dr,

It all started when I began to competively swim. We had to wear these tight bathing suits and they rubbed a lot. That's when I noticed I was developing these brown spots. After swimming ending the spots grew a little and then stopped. Its been 6 months that ive had these spots. I tried using Hydrocortisone Perrigo USP 2.5 percent ointment but it did not work. They are not raised and only cause some irritation. Im 18 years old and have never had sexual intercourse of any kind.

Thank you very much for your time.

You have a condition called Balanitis.

Balanitis is swelling (inflammation) of the foreskin and head of the penis.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
possible causes include:

Diseases such as reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis et atrophicus
Harsh soaps
Not rinsing soap off properly while bathing
Uncontrolled diabetes


Redness of foreskin or penis
Other rashes on the head of the penis
Foul-smelling discharge
Painful penis and foreskin
Signs and tests

Your health care provider may be able to diagnose your balanitis by examination alone. However, you may need skin tests for viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Sometimes, a skin biopsy is needed.


Treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. For example, balanitis that is caused by bacteria may be treated with antibiotic pills or creams. Balanitis that occurs with skin diseases may respond to steroid creams. Anti-fungal creams will be prescribed if it is due to a fungus.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most cases of balanitis can be controlled with medicated creams and good hygiene.


Long-term inflammation or infection can:

Scar and narrow the opening of the penis (meatal stricture)
Affect the blood supply to the tip of the penis
Calling your health care provider
Lead to infections by yeast, bacteria or fungus

Tell your health care provider if you have any signs of balanitis, including swelling of the foreskin or pain.


Good hygiene can prevent most cases of balanitis and avoidance of trauma or irritation.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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


published over 50 articles on the subject.

©2017 All rights reserved.