Genital dermatoses is the general term used to define skin conditions on the both male and female reproductive organs. They can be classified as venereal (sexually transmitted) or non venereal (not sexually transmitted) and can affect people at any age. Non venereal dermatoses are often caused by skin infections and autoimmune disorders. Venereal genital dermatoses are caused from sexual intercourse including vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Genital dermatoses present through a wide range of symptoms and often will require treatment from a medical professional.
Examples of non-sexually transmitted genital dermatoses
Balanitis– inflammation and swelling on the head of the penis. It is often caused by a bacterial or viral infection and is not contagious. It is estimated that roughly 10% of males will have balanitis once in their life.
Genital Psoriasis– affects the genital region in both men and women including the crease between the thigh and genital area, the vulva, penis, scrotum, and the skin around the anus. Genital psoriasis is very common and treatable by a medical professional.
Vaginal Cysts– occur when a gland or duct becomes clogged, causing a build up of liquid. Vaginal cysts can heal on their own with little to no symptoms, however infected or inflamed cysts are likely to cause pain and discomfort. If an abscess forms from the cyst, it may need to be drained to properly heal.
Examples of sexually transmitted genital dermatoses
Syphilis– is a bacterial infection contracted through direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There are three major stages of syphilis- primary, secondary, and latent. During the primary stage, you may notice a small sore on the genital area that typically does not cause any pain. The secondary stage begins a few weeks later and causes a rash on the entire body as well as warts on your mouth and genitals. The latent stage can last for years with symptoms coming and going. Untreated syphilis can cause damage to the brain, nerves, blood vessels, eyes, and the liver.
Chlamydia– can affect both men and women and is easily cured if treated early. Major symptoms of chlamydia include abnormal vaginal discharge, discharge from the penis, a burning sensation while urinating, rectal pain, and bleeding. Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia and may be ordered by your physician. If left untreated in women, chlamydia can lead to severe reproductive health issues.
Gonorrhea– is common in both men and women and can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. In some cases, gonorrhea will not cause any major symptoms, making it easy to be left unnoticed. Symptoms that may present include painful urination, increased discharge from the vagina or penis, abdominal or pelvic pain, sores in the throat, and pus-like discharge from the rectum. If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to fertility complications in both men and women.
Pubic Lice (genital crabs)– are tiny insects that live on your pubic hair. They cause intense itching and can be transmitted through sexual intercourse or close physical contact with someone who has been diagnosed. Pubic lice is treated through prescribed shampoos or creams.
There are many treatment options available for genital dermatoses that can alleviate discomfort and heal the infected or inflamed skin. If you are experiencing symptoms related to any of the previously described conditions, it is best to seek medical care immediately. Left untreated, genital dermatoses can lead to serious health complications. Although treatments may vary depending on the severity of your condition, your dermatologist may discuss the following treatment options:
- Oral medications
- Medicated topical treatments
- Pubic lice shampoo/lotion
- Antifungal creams
- Prescribed antibiotics for certain STDs
Our dermatologists understand that genital dermatoses can be a sensitive topic and sharing your concerns with a medical professional may be difficult. Our doctors operate with the utmost discretion, professionalism, and understanding of your concerns. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our board certified dermatologists, please click on the link below.