[Question #5888] Change in penile appearance

18 months ago
Hi Drs.

I have been observing that the veins in my penis have become more prominent(bulging out/swollen) and greenish in color for the past couple of days (especially in the foreskin area). I have not had a recent sexual exposure with another person, but am worried about the reason for this sudden change in appearance.
1. I masturbated couple of days back, and had slight pain after the masturbation which does not happen for me usually. At that time, I had oral hsv sores inside my mouth. Could I have transmitted infection which has caused this ?
2. Can any other infection from past cause this ? Generally the veins in foreskin area get slightly more prominent and red right after masturbation for me, but it goes back to normal in an hour or two. I am worried since it has been couple of days, and the change in appearance is different and much more prominent.


Thanks

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your question.  I'll do my best to help. The penis is a highly vascular organ and while some vascular issues may effect the penile vasculature, there are no STIs which would be expected to do this.  In the course of masturbation, minor trauma may occur and conceivably this might account for the changes that you have noted. Alternatively, for some reason you may be paying closer attention to the appearance of your penis than previously and you may be witnessing normal change in the prominence of penile veins over the course of the day.  Herpes in one location (such as the mouth, cannot be spread from one part of the body through touching or other transfer that might occur during masturbation.  

The appearance of the penis can certainly change over the course of the day and that you penis returns to its normal appearance suggests that what you are observing is not a problem. Should the process progress or persist over the next few days, I would suggest that you request evaluation by a urologist.  What you describe however is certainly no an STI and specifically is not HSV transferred from your mouth to your penis.

I hope this comment is helpful to you.  EWH
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18 months ago
Dr. Hook

Thank your for the comments, they helped ease my anxiety about an infection causing this. I will follow your advice and monitor the appearance for the next few days. It certainly looks different to me all of a sudden.

Are there any scientifically known triggers for oral 'cold sores' ? I ask this because I have tested positive for hsv1 antibodies in the past but never have had any breakout as far as I can remember.  But I had sores inside the mouth few months back, which started around 8-10 days after a dental procedure. (there was friction and painful rubbing on top of mouth while they were trying to take x-ray). Had another similar appearance of sores a week ago in the same place, which healed in ~4 days.. I am worried as to why all of a sudden I have started having sores? I havent kissed anyone new in at least more than 2 years. I sometimes also have facial laser procedures or subcision and am worried if they are also going to trigger outbreaks now. 


Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
18 months ago
Cold sores are typically caused by herpes simplex virus type-1. Substantial experience indicates that they may recur with sun exposure or stress.  In addition, there are good data which indicate that oro-facial medical interventions such as plastic surgery and, presumably, dental work may lead to recurrent outbreaks.  I cannot comment on whether or not your facial laser therapy is likely to trigger recurrences.  Many health care providers choose to provide their patients with prophylactic acyclovir or valacyclovir when  oral procedures are planned to reduce the likelihood of stimulating a recurrence.  you may wish to discuss this with your health care provider.  EWH---