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Causes for Burning sensation on your penis and how to treat it

March 2020

The burning sensation on the penis usually arises when there is inflammation of the head of the penis, also known as balanitis. Although in most cases this inflammation occurs due to a minor allergic reaction or friction because of underwear tissue, there are situations where this inflammation may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection or a sexually transmitted disease.

However, these are accompanied by other symptoms that can help you be alert that something is not right, such as redness of the penis, bad smell, severe itching, swelling or even pus coming out of the urethra.

In addition, the burning sensation can also happen only when you need to urinate, for example, and then it is usually related to a urinary tract infection.

Causes for Burning sensation on your penis and how to treat it

Since there are several causes that can cause burning in the penis, it is best to see a urologist, particularly if this change happens too often, if accompanied by other symptoms, or if it takes more than 1 week to disappear. However, the most frequent causes are:

1. Underwear Friction

This is the main reason for the burning sensation in the head of the penis that is not accompanied by other symptoms. This type of alteration is more frequent in men with sensitive skin during the summer, due to the heat in your intimate region, and in those who wear underwear of synthetic fabrics such as lycra or viscose, for example.

Although very common, it can be one of the most difficult causes to identify, because it is not caused by any particular situation, arising only from the friction of the skin with the underwear fabric.

What to do: In order to alleviate irritation, you should maintain proper hygiene of your intimate region, as well as prefer wearing underwear with natural fabric such as cotton. In addition, sleeping without underwear can also help reduce the burning sensation, as it can prevent friction with the underwear during sleep.

2. Allergic reaction

In case of an allergic reaction, the burning sensation usually occurs after using some type of product in your intimate region, which can range from a shower gel that was used directly on the penis, to some kind of moisturizer that may have been applied in the region

In addition, wearing synthetic fabric underpants can also result in an allergy, causing similar symptoms.

What to do: Wash the penis with warm water and, if possible, use an intimate soap. In addition, it is also recommended you wear natural fabric briefs such as cotton.

3. Friction during masturbation or intercourse

Although very similar to underwear friction, the burning sensation comes after masturbation or intimate contact without proper lubrication and can affect almost all men.

In addition to the burning sensation, this type of friction can make the penis very red and sore, especially in the region of the gland. Because it has more symptoms than burning, this type of cause can be confused with a more serious problem, such as a sexually transmitted disease.

What to do: Ideally, lubrication should always be used during sexual contact or during masturbation, especially if no condom is used. However, if there is a friction burn, proper penis hygiene should be maintained and you should see an urologist if the sensation does not improve within 3 days or if there is any suspicion of sexual disease.

Causes for Burning sensation on your penis and how to treat it

4. Sexually transmitted diseases

The burning sensation in the penis is one of the most common symptoms of any sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea or chlamydia, for example.

However, in addition to the burning sensation, other symptoms such as pus discharge, the presence of sores or very intense redness are common. This type of disease is more common in men who have more than one partner or sexual partner and do not use a condom.

What to do: Whenever you are suspected of having a sexually transmitted disease, it is very important to see an urologist to make the diagnosis and start the most appropriate treatment, according to the type of infection, you need to use different medication and doses.

5. Candidiasis or yeast infection

Candidiasis is the overgrowth of fungus in the penis. Although this is less common in men, it can happen when there is poor intimate hygiene or when you have unprotected intimate contact with another person with a yeast infection.

In addition to the burning sensation, other symptoms of candidiasis include intense redness of the head of the penis, white pus, constant itching, and even the presence of small white plaques on the head of the penis. See how to identify a case of candidiasis in man and how treatment is done.

What to do: If candidiasis is suspected, it is important to see an urologist to confirm the diagnosis and start treatment with an antifungal, usually Fluconazole, to eliminate the fungus and relieve symptoms. During the candidiasis crisis it is also important to keep the intimate region dry and clean, as well as to avoid excessive sugar consumption.

6. Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection is usually easy to identify because it has very specific symptoms, such as burning while urinating, heaviness in the bladder and frequent urge to urinate, for example.

Although burning usually arises from the urge to urinate, some men may also feel a constant burning sensation in the penis, especially in the urethra.

What to do: The urinary tract infection needs to be treated with an antibiotic. Therefore, if suspicion is present, it is important to see a urologist to initiate appropriate treatment. In addition, it is important to take other precautions such as drinking a lot of water and maintaining proper hygiene of the intimate region.

Bibliography >

  • DIAS, Josée Santos. Urologia fundamental: na prática clínica. Lousã: Lidel - edições técnicas, 2010. 152-158.
  • WEIN, Alan J. et al. CAMPBELL-WALSH Urologia. 11.ed. Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier, 2019. 387-420.
  • MORRIS, Brian J. KRIEGER, John N. Penile Inflammatory Skin Disorders and the Preventive Role of Circumcision. Int J Prev Med. Vol.8(1). 32, 2017
  • HEALTHLINE. How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Friction Burn on Your Penis. Available on: <https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/friction-burn-penis>. Access in 14 May 2019
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