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Genital sores - male
A male genital sore is any sore or lesion that appears on the penis, scrotum, or male urethra.
Sores - male genitals; Ulcers - male genitals
Symptoms of male genital sores may include:
Sore may also be found elsewhere on the body (such as the mouth and throat).
Male genital sores can be caused by many different things. Those most concerning are caused by sexually transmitted infections (STI). For example, genital herpes simplex, syphilis, chancroid, granuloma inguinale, and lymphogranuloma venereum can cause ulcers on the genitals.
Avoid self-treatment before seeing a doctor. It can hide signs and symptoms and make diagnosis more difficult. Avoid all sexual contact until you have a medical exam.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call for an appointment with your doctor if you have any unexplained genital sores or if new ones appear in other parts of your body.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The doctor will perform a physical examination. The exam will include looking at the genital, pelvis, skin, lymph nodes, mouth, and throat.
The doctor will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- Time Pattern:
- When did you first notice the sore?
- How long have you had it?
- Have you ever had a similar sore in the past?
- What are your sexual habits?
- Is there drainage from the penis?
- Is there painful urination?
- Is there painful sexual intercourse?
- Any fevers, chills or enlarged lymph nodes?
Tests that may be done include:
- Complete blood count or blood differential
- Skin or mucosal biopsy culture of the lesion
- HIV test
- Rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test
- Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause and may include antiviral medicines and antibiotics. Your doctor may ask you to avoid sexual activity or use a condom for a while, depending on your diagnosis.
Link RE. Cutaneous diseases of the external genitalia. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 13.
Workowski KA, Berman S; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59:1-110.
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.