As anyone who suffers from eczema can relate, this chronic skin condition can be uncomfortable or even painful and often causes a great deal of social embarrassment. For men who experience symptoms on their penis, these issues can become even more problematic, especially as the reddened, dry penis skin and accompanying rash can resemble signs of a sexually transmitted infection. Fortunately, with the right approach to penis care, men can control the worst of the symptoms. Read on for more about what causes eczema on the penis and what to do about it.
What causes eczema?
The term eczema is often used as an umbrella term to refer to any superficial inflammatory skin condition. In this case, eczema refers to a chronic condition that begins in childhood and often continues into adulthood. It is not certain what causes the condition, but it is often inherited, and it generally occurs when the skin comes in contact with an allergen. Men who have eczema on other parts of their bodies may also develop eczema on the penis.
Symptoms of eczema
Eczema on the penis is similar to that on the rest of the body. Symptoms may include extremely dry penis skin, itching, rash, and small pustules that may weep and crust. Rough bumps or leathery skin may develop, and permanent itching may occur. In some cases, changes in pigmentation may also develop.
Every individual differs in what sets off their symptoms, but some common triggers include the following:
– Irritants such as soaps, detergents, fragrances, and disinfectants;
– Food items such as eggs, dairy, nuts, soy and wheat;
– Allergens such as dust mites, pollen, viruses, bacteria, and fungi;
– Hot weather, high humidity, low humidity, and perspiration from exercise;
– Stress – although stress does not cause the symptoms of eczema, it can make them worse.
Men who are suffering from dry penis skin symptoms and suspect they may have eczema should work with their doctors to identify the triggers; this may involve a skin patch test often used for identifying the cause of allergic reactions. Determining what triggers the symptoms is important so that they can be avoided and so that appropriate steps for treatment can be taken.
Treating eczema symptoms
Prescription-strength cortisone creams are often used in treating the itching and inflammation associated with eczema. These medications should only be used on the penile skin under the supervision of a doctor, and only in the recommended amounts. Improper use is associated with numerous side effects, including further irritation and drying, the appearance of stretch marks, and thinning, waxy-looking skin.
In addition to treatments recommended by a doctor, the following home remedies may also help to relieve the most uncomfortable symptoms:
1) Keep the area clean and dry. Gentle cleansing of the area is important to remove dead skin cells, built-up body fluids, and any potential irritants. The skin should be patted dry after washing – vigorous rubbing should be avoided.
2) Avoid tight clothing and synthetic fabrics. Breathable cotton that is not too loose and not too tight is best to avoid rubbing and chafing.
3) Don’t scratch or rub at the area.
4) Avoid products with fragrances, which may further irritate the skin.
5) Try colloidal oatmeal baths to relieve itching and discomfort.
6) Avoid sexual contact during an outbreak.
7) Apply a moisturizing crème after bathing. A penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) containing natural emollients such as Shea butter can be especially helpful for dry penis skin caused by eczema, as these products are specifically designed for the penile skin.
All of these self-care tips may help, but men should always follow the advice of their doctor and should not undertake any treatment or stop use of a prescribed medication without the recommendation of a qualified health care professional.