An uncontrollable urge to scratch an itchy penis is a familiar sensation for every man. When a guy is alone, of course, there’s no problem; but when in a social, public situation, the last thing a guy wants is to be caught with his hand rubbing his penis. If the itchy penis is more than a passing problem, it may be a penis health issue that needs attention. In such cases, identifying the cause of the itchiness is necessary. Neurodermatitis may be that cause in certain cases.
What is neurodermatitis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, neurodermatitis is a skin condition that starts with a patch of itchy skin. When it is scratched, it itches even more, encouraging a person to scratch it again. Over time, this itch-scratch-itch-scratch cycle results in the affected skin thickening and taking on a leathery aspect. These areas may also have a raised, red, rather rough aspect.
Neurodermatitis can appear anywhere on the body, including the penis and/or balls. It’s not uncommon for it to occur in several locations at once, so that a man might have an itchy penis as well as, say, an itchy foot and itchy buttocks.
Neurodermatitis is considered benign, which is to say it is not life threatening in any way. (However, persistent itching can in some cases create an infection, which does need to be attended to.) But it is intensely annoying, and it can cause significant sleep disruptions, as well as impact quality of life and even, unfortunately, sexual function. In addition, because it is physically unattractive, it can be a source of embarrassment and may cause a person so afflicted to feel self-conscious or ashamed. This is doubly true when the disease occurs on the penis or balls.
Causes and treatment
Doctors do not yet know the exact cause of neurodermatitis. It often begins from simple skin irritation, like a mosquito bite or clothing rubbing the skin the wrong way, and only develops into visible neurodermatitis from the repeated scratching. Although women are more often affected, it is also found with some frequency in men. It’s often associated with other skin conditions, like eczema, psoriasis or dry skin, and stress can trigger an outbreak. Perhaps most maddening, the urgency to scratch is usually strong when a person is relaxing or trying to sleep.
Unfortunately, neurodermatitis is thought of as a lifelong disease. Rather than being able to treat the disease itself, doctors have to treat the symptoms – the itchiness, the dry, rough skin, etc.
There are numerous options which may be employed to stop the itchiness. These include the use of corticosteroids, cold compresses, antihistamines, and proper moisturizers. Since stress can bring about recurrences, anti-anxiety medication may be recommended for some. Specialized phototherapy (using lights to heal skin) is recommended by some, as are special medicated patches.
Especially when neurodermatitis is on the penis and causes intense emotional responses from a man, it may be beneficial to work with a mental health professional to develop strategies for dealing with these negative feelings.
An itchy penis which is accompanied by dry skin, whether due to neurodermatitis or other factors, can benefit from the use of a first rate penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). However, it is essential that the crème selected is one with superior hydrating capabilities. For this reason, choose a crème that includes both a high-end emollient (such as shea butter) and an exceptional moisturizer (such as vitamin E). In addition, a crème with a potent antioxidant can help to strengthen skin. One such antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, works to decrease excess free radicals which will otherwise result in oxidative damage.