Blisters on Penis: Top 5 Causes & What to Do

Updated in August 2023

Blisters on the penis usually occur due to a fabric allergy or sweat. However, if they appear with other symptoms, like genital pain or discomfort, it may be a sign of a skin disease or sexually transmitted infection. 

Therefore, if you notice blisters on your penis, you are advised to see a doctor for assessment. The doctor will evaluate whether you have other symptoms and order additional testing as needed so that appropriate treatment can be started. 

Blisters on the penis can appear at any age, however it happens more commonly in men who are sexually active due to an increased risk for sexually transmitted infections and use of irritating products like lubricants.

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What causes penile blisters?

Common causes of blisters on the penis at any age include:

1. Pearly penile papules 

Pearly penile papules, or Tyson glands, produce a lubricant fluid that helps facilitate penetration during sex.  Some men have more visible Tyson glands that look like small blisters, which is why they are called pearly penile papules. 

What to do: Penile papules are harmless and do not require any treatment. However, these glands can grow and may be cosmetically unappealing. In these cases, a urologist can recommend treatment to remove the glands. Learn more about pearly penile papules and the symptoms associated with them.

2. Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. It causes blisters in the genital are about 10 to 15 days after initial exposure during unprotected sex. Many people also experience burning, itching, pain and genital discomfort. Read more about symptoms of genital herpes.  

What to do: Cases of genital herpes should be assessed by a doctor and confirmed with testing. Treatment generally involves the use of antiviral medication, which can decrease virus replication rates and lead to less symptoms and a reduced risk of transmission. 

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection, which means it is spread through unprotected stress. It is usually transmitted through the direct contact of the herpes blister fluid from the infected person to another. One of the best ways to prevent a herpes infection is by using a condom.

3. Lichen sclerosis

Lichen sclerosis, also known as lichen sclerosis et atrophicus, is a chronic skin condition characterized by changes in the genital region. The first noticeable change is the emergence of blisters on the penis. Although this condition is more frequent in post-menopausal women, it can also occur in men. 

In addition to blisters, you may also see whitish wounds, itching, local irritation, skin peeling and discoloration in the affected area. The cause of lichen sclerosis is not very well known, however it may be related to genetics and immune factors. 

What to do: Treatment of lichen sclerosis should be recommended by a dermatologist or urologist. Most times, the doctor will prescribe creams that contain corticosteroids, as well as anti-histamines, with treatment aimed at relieving any related signs or symptoms. 

4. Molluscum contagiosum 

Molluscum contagiosum is an infectious skin disease caused by a virus that triggers blisters on any part of the body, including the genital region. This illness is more common in children, but it can appear in adults with a weakened immune system. 

What to do: Cases of molluscum contagiosum are best treated by a dermatologist or urologist, who can increase the chance of cure by prescribing ointments, cryotherapy or laser therapy. Treatment depends on the type of illness, the presenting symptoms and past medical history of the patient. 

5. Allergies 

The presence of blisters on the penis can also be a sign of a skin allergy, which are usually also accompanied by itching, pain with urination, discomfort and a mild red rash. A skin allergy can be triggered by sweat, clothing, hygiene products (like body wash), lubricants or condoms.

What to do: You are advised to identify the allergy trigger and avoid it as much as possible. You may benefit from seeing a doctor to assess your allergy symptoms, as the doctor may recommend a anti-histamine that is best suited for you.