[Question #1223] Spots on penis

47 months ago
Hi,
I had unprotected sex with a new sexual partner around 48-60 hours ago.  She's my first sexual partner in a few years.  I used a hair removal cream around the top of my penis and including around 2-3 inches onto the penis itself a few hours before.  I also shaved a few stubborn hairs with a razor.  I now have a few spots (approx. 6) on my penis, raised and red and a couple puss-filled.  

Is it likely that I have contracted something, or is this more likely to be a reaction to the hair removal cream?  

Thanks in advance,

David
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
47 months ago
Greetings and welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

Most likely this is folliculitis -- i.e. hair follicle inflammation/infection -- more likely related to shaving more than the cream. Herpes is the only STD that possibly could do it, but it's a bit early, since herpes symptoms typically begin after 3-5 days, although 2 days is possible. Herpes lesions also usually would not progress to pustules ("pus filled") that quickly, but would first go through a phase of superficial blister-like lesions with clear fluid. Finally, initial herpes typically occurs predominantly at the sites of maximum friction during sex, i.e. more likely the head or the distal (farther out) parts of the penile shaft. In contrast with herpes, the location and characteristics you describe are more consistent with folliculitis, which has become far more common in the past 10+ years when sexually active men and women began pubic shaving.

The only slight wrinkle in this is that if your skin were irritated from either shaving or the cream, it is conceivable that it predisposed to herpes showing first symptoms in that area, so at this point I cannot be 100% confident against herpes. Another sign of herpes would be enlargement and tenderness of lymph nodes in the groin. (That could also occur with folliculitis, but less likely.) If there is no change in the next couple of days, i.e. no new lesions, no blisters, no lymph node swelling, and the current lesions start to clear, I think you needn't worry. Still, it wouldn't be a bad idea to speak with your partner about the possibility she has genital herpes (or oral, if there was any oral-penile contact). And if any doubt, see a doctor for reassurance and/or diagnosis.

In any case, I'll be happy to reassess if you would like to post a follow-up comment in the next few days and let me know how it goes.

Now about that condomless sex....  You know your partner and I don't, and you say nothing about her lifestyle and possible STD risks. But of course condoms should be automatic for sex with new, casual, or non-monogamous partners. (Hope you don't mind the mini-lecture!)

I hope this has helped. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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47 months ago
Hi,

thanks very much for your response, which is helpful.

Things seem to have calmed down a little, which is great.  However I still have 2 'spots' which are causing me some slight concern.  One spot is on the left hand side of my penis and approximately 2 inches from the pubic region. This is slightly raised, but is likely a result of my drawing puss from it.  The second spot is more subtle and more pale and is on the outside of my foreskin right in the center of the head of my penis.  

I am trying to attach an image for you, but this doesn't seem to be uploading.  Is there another way for me to get this to you?

I've booked an appointment with my local GUM clinic with the first available appointment on 13th October.  While I suspect (hope) that these anomolies are harmless I know it's important to get checked out.  You mini lecture is also appreciated!


Thanks in advance,

David
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
47 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped.

We don't examine posted photos on this forum. It comes too close to diagnosing or otherwise providing direct health care, which we cannot do. However, I really don't think this is anything to worry about. Individual folliculitis lesions or pimples can have variable appearances or delayed healing. But if you remain concerned, I certainly endorse getting the opinion of your local GUM clinic. If it seems to be getting worse before Oct 13, I'll bet they'll find a way to see you sooner, either by appointment or walk-in.

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