Penis Discoloration: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Penis discoloration is a condition that occurs in men whereby the color of their genitalia – the penis changes from its normal pigmentation. This pigmentation known as ‘melanin’ is responsible for the normal color of the skin and hair of an individual.

The penis is one of the sensitive sex organs in men which develops during puberty. It is a complex organ whose primary functions are for sexual activity, reproduction and urination. The penis consist of several parts which includes the shaft, head and the foreskin which is usually removed during circumcision.

 As a result of the sensitivity of the male genitalia – the penis, it’s usually a cause for concern when there are any changes to the penis. Nevertheless, there are different conditions that may affect the appearance of the penis. Some maybe congenital and causes abnormalities during fetal development while in the womb, while others may occur later in life and may be caused by injury, infections or diseases like cancer.

Changes that occur in the penis may be benign i.e having a mild sysmptom which may not necessary pose any serious health concern to the individual. However, most men will feel very concerned when the notice any abnormalities in or around their genitalia which may include: rash, bumps, burning sensation or even a penis discoloration. Notably, the urologist is the best doctor to evaluate and answer questions about the penis .

Regardless of a person’s skin color, a penis can differ in colour from the rest of a person’s skin color. This is due to the sex hormones regulate melanocyte cells which is responsible for pigmentation. However, when the penis color change is abnormal, unexplained or accompanied by pain or rash, then a man should visit his doctor for proper medical diagnosis and evaluation.

 Causes of Penis Discoloration and It’s Possible Treatment

Contextually, it is completely normal to experience penis discoloration when a man is sexually aroused. This happens when the there is an increase of blood flow in the penis during sexual activity like; masturbating or before and during sex which keeps the penis erected. During this period, the tip of the penis may turn deep red or purplish in color.

But all the same, there’s no reason to panic when a man notices a change in color of his penis from its usual color has immediate treatment could help in reliving pains and aiding healing.
Here are some of the possible causes why a man may experience apart from being penis discoloration sexually aroused; 

Bruise or Injury

A bruise occurs when a tiny blood vessels ruptures just below the surface of the skin, then blood collects at that spot causing it to turn purple or blue. Bruises can either be caused by trauma incidents, surgical procedures or by hematoma which is a bruise that occurs deep within a tissue of an organ causing blood from the damaged blood vessels to pool under the skin.

Bruises are often caused by vigorous sexual activity, masturbation, if pinched or stucked and zipper accidents. Men should always use care when zipping up trousers and wear protective gear when playing sport.  


Vitiligo is a skin condition that may appear as a small whitish spot which may cover a larger area on the penis. It happens when there is no production of melanin by the skin cells. Although vitilago can occur on any part of the body, but it typically affects the elbow and knee including the penis.

Its usually not painful and contagious.Possible treatment for vitiligo is the use of some steriods and medications that may help restore color in small or mildly affected areas. 

Lichen Sclerosus

Lichen Sclerosus is a life long skin condition that is characterized by white patches that gradually develops to purple spots and is common among the uncircumcised. If left untreated can lead to severe scarring and sexual dysfunction. Treatment of Lichen Sclerosus involves the use of strong steriod ointment which is to be applied to the affected area and circumcision on the foreskin is advised if its only the affected area. 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) Genital herpes and syphilis are known to cause penis discoloration which are usually white or red ulcers on the penis. In addition, rashes can also occur on  the hands, feet and penis. If left untreated, STD’s can lead to paralysis, blindness and even death. The best treatment for STD’s is by practising safe sex practices and know the health status of your partner. 

Penile Cancer

Although Penile Cancer is the rarest cancer among men, it is also a serious condition. Signs includes; sores on the penis, rashes, bumps, lumps on genital region and  which affects the penis glans or shafty has the penis turn reddish.

Treatment for penile cancer are either through surgery or radiation therapy to remove the small sections of cancer from the skin’s surface.

Other possible reason’s for Penis Discoloration are;

  • Penile Melanosis: A harmless skin condition that occurs in the shaft or head of the penis causing small patches of darkened skin to appear. 
  • Allergic conditions: This occurs especially when taking certain medications that can lead to severe allergic conditions known as Steven-Johnson syndrome.
  • Purpura: Also known as blood spot which caused as a result of an underlying health condition which makes the penis appear purplish or reddish. 
  • Contact Dermatitis – This happens when the skin comes in direct contact with irritant such as certain soaps, detergents or body cream which causes a discoloration in the any part of the body, which can also affect the penis. 

How Penis Discoloration Is Diagnosed

It is usually based on the underlying factors that an urologist can carry out certain standard test to ascertain why a man has penis discoloration. When checking for the possible causes, the urologist may perform;  white blood cell count, red blood cell count, a blood test and a biopsy. These test would enable the doctor to ascertain the major cause for penis discoloration

Precautions To Be Taken To Avoid Penis Discoloration

Proper attention should be to the penis especially when involved in any sexual or sporting activity. Adequate precaution should be adhered to when having multiple sexual partners to avoid having Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s).

The penis should be well taken care of and as such, it should not be exposed to any factor that may cause discomfort such as irritant. Surgery and traumatic incidents should be properly managed by the urologist, And a full body check up is very important to be able to ascertain a cause for penis discoloration.


In conclusion, it is a given that the human body is fragile and has such most be taken care of. Any unexplained changes to the appearance of the penis that may seem severe must be taken seriously especially when accompanied by pain or swelling.

An early detection is important for early treatment to avoid the having other health complications. Several treatment options are also available, has your urologist will communicate these options to you.

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