We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
A genital rash can cause worry, especially if the reason for it is not fully understood. In most cases, a genital rash is a symptom of another disorder.
A genital rash typically refers to a spread of bumps, lesions, or irregular patches of skin on the genitals. Understanding the causes and symptoms of genital rashes can help to properly diagnose and treat them.
There are many causes for genital rashes, some more concerning than others. Most people find that they can identify the cause quickly, with the help of a doctor, and can take action to treat it.
There are many different symptoms of a genital rash, which vary based on the cause of the rash.
Common symptoms include:
- sores, bumps, blisters, or lesions on the skin on and surrounding the genitals
- thickening of affected skin
- irritation or inflammation
- itching or burning sensations
- discolored skin ranging from pink, red, or yellow
- discharge from the genitals
- pain during intercourse
- pelvic pain
- enlarged lymph nodes
In any case, where the cause of the rash is unknown, it is important to see a doctor or dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. A full diagnosis will include a physical examination as the doctor needs to know the specifics about the rash to be able to treat it.
Doctors may also perform a swab test on discharge or on the surface of lesions to check for specific infectious causes. In some cases, a doctor may also want to do a skin scrape, where they take a small piece of a lesion or wart to be investigated. Other cases may require blood work to be done as well.
While there are home tests that can be used to check for the presence of some STDs, the most reliable way to diagnose any genital rash is by seeing a doctor.
There are many different treatments for a genital rash, each influenced by its cause. There are some common threads through all of these treatments.
For instance, while waiting to be diagnosed by a doctor, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or spray may help with an itchy rash on the penis or vagina. Doctors commonly prescribe creams such as these to treat symptoms while they are investigating an exact cause. Hydrocortisone cream may also be purchase online.
Body lice and pubic lice are usually removed with a medicated wash. This is left on the genitals for a long time to kill the infestation, and then rinsed away. Scabies is usually treated with medicated ointments and creams.
Treating yeast infections is done with antifungal medications, which come as creams and powders with pills rarely necessary for rashes. Yeast infections are also treated using home remedies, such as yogurt or oregano oil. According to one study, oregano oil shows promise in getting rid of the fungus that causes yeast infection. Oregano oil can be purchased online.
Cases of genital warts are either treated with prescription medications or by removing them with liquid nitrogen. The best option is for a doctor to remove them.
Bacterial infections like syphilis are treated with antibiotics.
There is no known cure for genital herpes, but the symptoms are often controlled with medications.
Similarly, there are no known cures for autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, but some medications help control the symptoms caused by the disorder.
If the genital rash is due to an allergy, removing the allergen will usually allow it to clear up. The symptoms can be treated in the meantime, and a doctor can run allergy tests if the exact allergen is unknown.
Practicing safe sex will help avoid rashes caused by STIs. Eating a balanced diet and regularly exercising will keep the immune system strong and help to fight off germs. Allergic reactions can be prevented by avoiding the things that trigger the allergies.
For many causes of a genital rash, the symptoms can be removed by treating the underlying cause. Even conditions that have no known cure can be successfully controlled with medications.
By working directly with a doctor to diagnose and treat the rash, the outlook for most cases is good.