Urology/dark patch on penis head
QUESTION: hello doctor,
I'm a 22 year old uncircumsized male and only recently I had retracted my foreskin completely. On doing so, I noticed a dark patch which goes for about half way around my penis head.I do not know whether I have always had this or it is a recent development. I am not taking any medication. Images have been attached.
ANSWER: Anand, without being able to examine you in person, it is difficult to be sure. However, in men who leave the foreskin covering the penis, the latter is subject to the effects of smegma (a secretion produced by the inner foreskin). Likewise, not pulling the foreskin back regularly and washing thoroughly with soap and water, can predispose to infection (so called balanoposthitis). This and in some men the irritating effects of smegma can cause scarring or discoloration of the glans penis and/or foreskin.
I suggest that on a daily basis, you pull the foreskin back to expose the glans penis completely, wash thoroughly with soap and water then pat dry. Next apply 3% hydrogen peroxide (available over-the-counter from your local pharmacist) with a cotton tipped applicator to the inner foreskin, glans penis and groove behind the glans. After the bubbling stops, pat dry and pull the foreskin forward. You can do the washing in the shower and apply the hydrogen peroxide once you dry yourself off. This treatment will not correct the discoloration, but it will prevent further problems and is the proper hygiene for uncircumcised men. If you are unable to retract the foreskin completely or are troubled by recurrent fissuring (cracking of the skin) of the foreskin, you are best seen by a urologist. In such cases, circumcision may be necessary. Good luck.
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QUESTION: Thank you for your detailed response doctor. I just have one more question, if the discoloration is caused due to the smegma, is there a way to get rid of the discoloration.
Anand, as mentioned the discoloration is due to irritation from the smegma and presumed local irritation from chronic infection. Keeping the area clean and having the glans penis periodically exposed to the air may lighten the discoloration over time. However, there is no specific treatment to hasten the process.