6 Symptoms That Could Indicate an STI

What to Look Out for When It Comes to the Health of Your Penis

Neisseria Gonorrhoeae
Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. Getty Images/BSIP/UIG

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) often carry symptoms that affect the penis or groin area. If you're concerned by something you've noticed on your body, you should consult with a doctor. In the meantime, however, peruse this list of six possible symptoms that affect the penis. If any of them sound familiar, it may indicate that you've contracted an STI.

1. Discharge from the Penis. A thick white, yellow, or green discharge from the tip of the penis may be a sign of gonorrhea, especially if you also experience pain in the urethra or pain with urination.

2. Single Sore on the Penis. In primary syphilis, a hard, painless, dime-sized sore (sometimes compared to a button) appears on the penis. This is usually accompanied by a swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin.

3. Penile Pain or Discomfort. Pain, itchiness, or discomfort—often associated with urination—may be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection.

4. Painful Blisters or Scabs on the Penis. A cluster of painful or itchy red spots and small blisters on the penis may be a sign of genital herpes. Typically, the pain or itching comes first, followed a day or two later by the appearance of blisters. Herpes sores may also appear on the scrotum, thighs, and buttocks.

5. Brown Flecks on the Hair Around the Penis. If you find tiny grey-brown eggs on the shafts of your pubic hair, it may be a sign of infestation by pubic lice (also called "crabs").

6. Red Bumps on the Penis and Scrotum. A scabies infestation will cause red, itchy bumps and nodules, which typically appear in lines.

Usually, similar lesions will also pop up elsewhere on your body.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call up your doctor right away and ask for an appointment so you can be tested and, in the event of a positive diagnosis, receive the appropriate treatment. If a diagnosis is confirmed, please be sure to alert any sexual partners.

They may also need to be tested and treated. And be sure to engage in safe sex practices going forward, if you aren't already. Contraceptive methods such as condoms, in particular, can be incredibly effective when it comes to protecting against STIs.

You should also know that many STIs have physical symptoms that manifest elsewhere on the body. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, even if it's not on your genitals, it could still be an indication of an STI. If you're sexually active, familiarize yourself with all of the possible signs of the most common STIs.

Knowledge is power and, the more you know, the better able you'll be to protect yourself and your partners.


Behrman AJ, Shoff WH. "Gonorrhea." eMedicine.com, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/782913-overview. Accessed 11 May 2010.

Diaz MM, Sinert RH. "Syphilis." eMedicine.com, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/786191-overview. Accessed 11 May 2010.

McCroskey AL, Rosh AJ. "Scabies." eMedicine.com, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/785873-overview. Accessed 11 May 2010.

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