December 12, 2019

What It Means If You Have an Itchy Penis

Before you panic, read up on why you may have an itchy penis. It could be anything from a common STI to masturbating without enough lube.
Written by
Louise Bourchier, MPH
Published on
December 12, 2019
Updated on
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Having an itchy penis is no fun, it’s uncomfortable, it’s distracting, and it can be worrying. You might wonder: Why is my penis itchy? Do I have an STI? How do I fix it? Well, look no further, let’s talk about what might be causing that itchy dick and how you can fix it.

Why is my penis itchy?

Here are some common reasons why your penis might be itching:

1. Sexually transmissible infection

2. Another infection

3. Allergy

4. Skin condition

Read on to learn about each cause and how you can treat it.

STIs that can cause an itchy penis

There are a few sexually transmissible infections that may be the cause of your itchy penis problem. 

Genital herpes

If you see clusters of small red blisters, you may have a case of genital herpes. The rash is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) may be painful and/or itchy.

How to treat genital herpes:

Herpes can be treated with oral medication or creams which you can get from a doctor. Although you can treat the symptoms, once you have the herpes virus it will continue to live in your body and might come back in the future.

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and show up as bumps on the skin. The bumps may be small and clustered together, or there may be one or several distinct larger bumps, they might look kind of like cauliflower. Warts don’t always itch, but they can.

How to treat genital warts:

A doctor can help decide the best treatment for genital warts. This may include using medications or freezing off warts.

Other infections that can make your dick itch

If it’s not an STI, it could be another kind of infection.

Yeast infection (candidiasis)

If the head of your penis is red, itchy, and has a burning sensation, then it might be a yeast infection (yes, you can get a penis yeast infection!) If you have foreskin you might notice white gunk under the skin, too. 

How to treat a penis yeast infection:

Antifungal creams will generally clean up a penis yeast infection. You can buy several types of antifungal cream at a pharmacy without a prescription. If that doesn’t clear it up then see a doctor to check the diagnosis and to prescribe the right ointment or oral medication.


Scabies is caused by small skin mites and can affect various parts of the body including the penis. If the itching is intense and you notice a rash with small, red, raised bumps scabies may be the cause.

How to treat scabies:

A doctor can prescribe you creams, ointments, or in some cases oral medication to treat scabies. Clothes and bedding should be washed in hot water to prevent reinfection or spreading the parasite.

Allergies that might be giving you an itchy penis

Sometimes an itchy penis might be due to an allergy to a chemical or material that it is coming in contact with.

Allergic reaction (contact dermatitis)

It is possible that you may be allergic to your laundry detergent, soap, or shower products. It could also be a reaction to the lube you’re using during sex or masturbation.

How to treat contact dermatitis:

Avoid scented products and use a mild body wash for sensitive skin. Switch to pure silicone lube.

Latex condom allergy

Is your penis itchy after using a latex condom? Latex allergies are fairly common.

How to treat a latex condom allergy

For a severe allergy, you might need medical attention, but if your allergy is mild it will go down on its own. Make sure you switch to a different type of condoms that are not made of latex, such as polyisoprene condoms.

Skin conditions that can make your dick itchy

There are a number of common skin conditions that can show up on the penis and cause it to itch. 


If you have patches of skin that are thicker than usual, red, and scaly, this may be psoriasis — a condition where the skin cells build up too quickly.

How to treat psoriasis

Psoriasis is treated with prescription medications, creams, and UV light therapies.

Dry skin or eczema

Dry itchy skin may be caused by eczema. Eczema can affect different parts of the body and is common in younger people, but you can get it at any age.

How to treat eczema

Using a moisturizer will help for mild dry skin or eczema. If the eczema gets bad you may need to use a prescription steroid cream.

Lichen nitidus or lichen planus

These are two types of bumpy, itchy, skin rashes that can affect the penis causing it to itch.

How to treat lichen nitidus or lichen planus

Mild cases will clear up without treatment, but if it is severe or persistent, a doctor can prescribe creams, oral medications, or UV light therapies.

Not sure what might be causing your itch? Here are five common questions to consider.

1. Itchy penis after sex?

Are you using latex condoms? If your penis is only itching after sex then it might be a reaction to the latex condoms. Try using condoms that are made of polyisoprene or another non-latex material. 

If you have an existing infection or skin condition, sex can make it feel worse. It’s best to get that checked out.

2. Itchy bumps on penis?

If you see bumps, get tested for STIs as they could be herpes or warts. If they are you can get treated; if it’s not, then the bumps could be scabies, lichen nitidus or lichen planus. Basically, it can be hard to tell the difference between different conditions, so it’s best to see a doctor to get it correctly diagnosed and treated.

3. Itchy penis head?

If only the head of your penis is itchy then consider if it matches the symptoms for a yeast infection, and if so,try an over-the-counter antifungal cream from a pharmacy. As always, if that doesn’t work, or if you’re not sure about the diagnosis, see a health care provider.

4. Itchy penis shaft?

If your shaft is itchy then look to identify any rash or dry skin, consider if it matches the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, contact dermatitis, or jock itch. 

Another thing to consider: Is your penis getting chafed from masturbation or from sex without enough lubrication? Make sure you look after your penis skin during solo and partnered sex play. A good lube may help.

5. Itchy pubic hair?

Is it actually your pubes that are itching rather than your penis, per se? It could be pubic lice, jock itch, ingrown hairs or some other pesky skin condition. Learn more about the causes and treatments of itchy pubes.

See a health care provider: Your penis is worth it.

It’s always a good idea to see a doctor if you have any itching, irritation, or rash on your penis. If you’re confident with your self-diagnosis and you’ve found an effective over-the-counter treatment, then great. But if not, yeah, best to make an appointment with your doctor or a trip to the sexual health clinic so you can get it resolved.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Louise Bourchier is a sex educator and sex researcher with 8 years experience in the field. She teaches about sexual health, sexual pleasure, and communication in relationships through workshops, live-streams, and with written content. Using a sex-positive approach, a dash of humour, and bag full of fun props, Louise’s style of sex education for adults is not what you got in high school! Since 2011 she has taught over a hundred workshops to a wide range of audiences, from university students, to refugees, to medical professionals, to adult store clientele. She has a Masters of Public Health, and is currently a PhD candidate.

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