[Question #1506] Penis Irritation

45 months ago
Three days ago I felt my boxer shorts rub the top of my penis. There was some discomfort. I examined it and it felt tender near the top. It turned the top (one side) faintly red with what looked like a red patch (very faint). I left it alone, went to sleep, and woke up and the redness appeared diminished. So oddly, that side of the top of my penis where the red patch is a little sensitive. It doesn't hurt or feel painful. I rub on the red area and it's not painful. I sleep fine at night and no discomfort from this. I have been using cortisone but haven't noticed any difference. This is technically the 4th full day. I can touch, rub and examine the area with no pain and just feels sensitive. I have had no other symptoms that I can speak to. Is this a herpes infection?

Thank you!
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
45 months ago
Although I can't tell you for certain that this irritated area isn't herpes, your description.  Normally herpes would not just look red - it would be a blister or broken skin.  Cortisone would  normally make herpes worse, not better.  I don't know about your sexual history or recent exposures, I can only respond to what you've described here and again, I would expect more definite changes in the skin with a herpes lesion.  That's not to say you don't have herpes - I don't know that and neither to do you without a herpes antibody test, but THIS doesn't sound herpetic to me.

Terri
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45 months ago
Thank you Terri! I appreciate the detail. I did inquire for this because it has been going on for 4 days and is just more of a nuisance than anything.  I was in a relationship with someone who did have HSV1 & 2. I ALWAYS used protection and the condom was where it needed to be in relation to what I am feeling now (didn't slip off or anything of the sort). She did perform oral sex but she had no cold sores (I checked... and checked well). Our last encounter was almost 3 months ago.

A couple of follow-up questions:

1. It seems to come and go with how it looks. Red then not so red. No bumps, blisters or broken skin. None. It is sensitive though and I can touch it (probably makes it worse by doing that).  Is this indicative of anything herpetic as far as symptoms are concerned?

2. I do (did) use cortisone but stopped once I realized it wasn't helping. It didn't make it feel worse (or better). This has been going on for 4 days. The redness comes and goes as well (you have to really focus in on my camera to see it or look closely as you can't see from a normal distance). From what I have read, I would know by now if it was an outbreak. Can you confirm?

Thank you!



Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
45 months ago
I do believe that you would likely notice something more than redness by now yes.  If you have concerns about this, you may wish to have it swab tested by PCR to be certain.  

Terri
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45 months ago
Terri,

The redness on the top has decreased (very light now) and the sensitivity is gone. The shaft was a little sensitive for a couple of days but has gone away. From what you have told me, I should have seen more distinct redness and lesions -- which never appeared. No itching or tingling around or on the area and no irritation. It never got worse each day and seems to be going away. Is it safe to say this isn't herpes based on the above?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
45 months ago
Without any testing, I can't say if you have herpes or not.  What I can say is that these symptoms don't sound herpetic to me. 

Terri
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