Itchy Foreskin: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, How Long Does it Last, Prevention

Itchy foreskin is a condition occurring in men and is generally caused by an yeast infection. It is a mild, but irritating temporary disorder of the penis. Here there is itchiness or swelling and inflammation on the foreskin or the head of the penis. Itchy foreskin generally affects 1 in 20 males.

Itchy Foreskin

Itchy Foreskin: An Overview!

Itchy foreskin can be caused by a yeast infection that may result in symptoms like flaky skin, inflammation of the foreskin of the penis or under the foreskin and itchiness. Apart from this, some men also experience pain while urination or during sex and even develop a rash on their penis.

There are a lot of causes for itchy foreskin. It can also be related to diabetes. Men with underlying diabetes may develop this condition and treating diabetes may help improve the condition of itchy foreskin. Treating itchy foreskin requires a topical anti-fungal cream, like structured silver or miconazole etc.

Accompanying Symptoms Along With Itchy Foreskin:

  • Itching sensation on foreskin or genitals
  • Tightened foreskin
  • Pain in the genital area
  • Discharge with foul odor
  • Painful skin on the penis
  • Swelling and redness of the foreskin

Apart from all these above symptoms, the swelling of your foreskin may put pressure on your urethra and this can lead to painful urination or pain during sex.

Itchy Foreskin: An Overview!

Causes of Itchy Foreskin:

  • Itchy foreskin is typically caused by a yeast infection or chronic skin conditions. The foreskin of the penis is an ideal place for bacteria and yeast to grow because it can trap moisture around the foreskin.
  • Usually poor hygiene can contribute to itching over the foreskin.
  • Moreover, itchy foreskin can also be caused because of using scented soaps for cleaning penis, using bar soap that dries out the skin, not rinsing soap completely off the foreskin after showering etc.
  • Apart from this, even some sleeping pills, painkillers and antibiotics can cause itchy foreskin as their side effects. This is known as a fixed drug eruption.
  • Some other causes of itchy foreskin could be reactive arthritis, uncontrolled diabetes, sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea and trichomonas.

Complications Associated With Itchy Foreskin:

It is essential for you to seek immediate treatment for itchy foreskin. Some of the possible complications could be; painful foreskin retraction, scarring in the penis opening, inadequate blood supply to the penis. Even, allergic dermatitis can be caused because of itchy foreskin that involves extreme itching, rash, hives and also inflamed skin and this inflammation can cause scarring. This can further lead to difficulty in urinating.

Diagnosis of Itchy Foreskin:

Diagnosis for itchy foreskin can be done by physical examination, as most of its symptoms are visible. In case you have discharge then your doctor may take the sample of it with a cotton swab and also collect your urine sample to check if there is any presence of bacterial or fungal cells. This helps in determining the cause of your itchy foreskin. Once the cause is known, your doctor may perform a biopsy, where the physician would remove a small piece of the tissue from the penis so as to examine it for disease. Before the doctor collects your sample, you will be given anesthesia.

Treatment of Itchy Foreskin:

Over-the-counter Treatment For Itchy Foreskin:

  • One can treat itchy foreskin with a mixture of diluted vinegar and Burow’s solution applied to the area with a compress. This mixture works as an astringent and astringents can relieve itching and irritation.
  • You can also use an antifungal cream containing nystatin, clotrimazole or terbinafine. This is because itchy foreskin may be also caused by a fungus or a yeast which requires this kind of treatments.
  • Topical steroids containing hydrocortisone can also be beneficial in treating itchy foreskin.
  • Keep it noted that if you are using OTC treatments, do not use them longer than 2 weeks. If you see no improvements in your condition then do visit your doctor and take the treatments as advised.

Medication to Relieve Itchy Foreskin:

  • Once your doctor has diagnosed the condition, will prescribe a medication anti-itch cream which will help you stop itching and inflammation in the foreskin.
  • In case you have an infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication so as to help clear it. This may be beneficial for you to stop itching and inflammation.
  • You may also be prescribed with some medicated creams with steroids so as to reduce inflammation and itching.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Itchy Foreskin:

Itchy foreskin can be treated with some home remedies. Below are some of them.

  • Vinegar: Vinegar can be a useful home remedy and can be used to clean the itchy foreskin. After washing it with vinegar, let the area to air dry.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Even hydrogen peroxide can be used as a home remedy to wash the foreskin and after washing, allow the area to air dry.
  • Vitamin E Supplements: Taking certain supplements, especially the vitamin E supplements, Echinacea, garlic tablets etc, could help in treating itchy foreskin. Applying the vitamin E topically can help. For this, break open the capsules and take the oily liquid from the inside of the pill and massage it gently on the affected area or the itchy foreskin and nearby areas.
  • Silver Gel: One of the useful home remedy for treating itchy foreskin is to use structured silver gel. This can be applied several times throughout the day. This benefits; as silver works against yeast, bacteria, viruses etc.

Treating Itchy Foreskin Through Proper Hygiene:

  • Discontinue using all perfumed soaps, powders or lotions, as they are often the cause of itchy foreskin. Also use only warm water for cleansing the foreskin or the penis.
  • Dry gently under the foreskin after urinating.
  • Try a soap substitute such as emollient.
  • If your baby is suffering from itchy foreskin, make sure you change their nappies frequently and do not use baby wipes to clean their penis.

Prognosis: How Long Does Itchy Foreskin Last?

Symptoms of itchy foreskin may last only for a few days, in case you address them as soon as you recognize them. Having itchy foreskin for a long period of time may be a cause of big concern. Most causes of itchy foreskin can be resolved with improved hygiene and the use of topical medication. It must be noted that the condition is not serious; however, you must visit your doctor and get yourself treated soon.

Preventing Itchy Foreskin:

There are chances that you may prevent itchy foreskin by following some of the steps listed below:

  • Keep your penis clean
  • Avoid harsh soaps and other skin irritants.
  • Use soap substitutes like an emollient
  • If you have latex allergy, then use latex-free condoms
  • Practice safe sex so as to avoid STI


If you, your son or any of your loved ones are suffering from itchy foreskin, it is better to see your doctor and take the necessary treatments at the soonest. It is also advised to maintain proper hygiene and help yourself to improve the condition.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 9, 2018

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