4 common questions (and answers) about the penis

It’s no secret – your groin area is extremely sensitive.  

If your groin is painful or uncomfortable, there’s no need to suffer. The key is to figure out what’s behind your symptoms.  

We know it might feel embarrassing to bring up these issues with a doctor, but you’ll be glad you did when you get to the bottom of the irritation. Let’s address four common questions you may have for your doctor:  

Why is my penis itchy? 

There are many potential causes, including simple soap irritation, skin conditions like eczema or poor hygiene, bacterial infection, fungal infections or a sexually transmitted infection 

Prevention is a great place to start: 

  • Use gentle soaps and laundry detergents  
  • Shower in warm water instead of hot  
  • Keep the groin area dry  
  • Wear loose clothing 
  • Use adequate lubrication and protection during sexual activity 

Visit a doctor if you experience itching, especially if it’s ongoing, severe or appears alongside other bothersome symptoms. 

The skin on my penis is peeling. Should I be moisturizing?  

Skin peeling can occur anywhere on the body, including the penis. This may result from friction, chafing, an allergic reaction, genital warts, scabies or even a skin condition like psoriasis or eczema. It may be the only symptom or be accompanied by itching, burning or redness. Peeling can also be caused by an STI, fungal infection or balanitis (inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin, most commonly happens in people who are uncircumcised). 

Doctors don’t recommend moisturizing the penis. Instead, consider applying a topical over-the-counter allergy ointment or antifungal cream. If the dryness or peeling may be caused by excessive friction (as in self contact), a pause in sexual activity until the penis heals is advised.  

If peeling skin on the penis continues, see your doctor for an evaluation, especially if your symptoms include discharge, sores, bleeding or pain with urination. 

Why does my penis hurt? 

If you are experiencing ongoing or severe penis pain – whether during sexual intercourse, while urinating, after an injury or otherwise – schedule a visit with a University Health Center doctor. We have male physicians you can speak to you about this concern if you prefer. In some cases, you may be referred to a local urologist depending on your symptoms. 

There can be various causes or conditions that cause pain, from mild to severe. Narrowing it down can be challenging without a proper exam. Talking with your doctor will help rule out potential concerns and provide you with the necessary treatment (and relief) sooner. 

How do I make my penis stronger? 

While there aren't exercises to strengthen the penis per se, maintaining a healthy body, regular exercise and good hygiene practices are excellent places to start. Achieving an ideal body weight, quitting tobacco use, maintaining good cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels can all improve erection quality according to medical data.  

If erectile dysfunction is a concern, you have options. Talk to a University Health Center doctor to learn more. 

Many men feel uncomfortable talking about these types of problems, but it's good to reach out to your doctor with your questions. Please don't put it off because you may be embarrassed. Rest assured, no topic is off-limits or weird. 

Still have questions? We can help. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment with a doctor. If you prefer a male doctor, let the medical receptionist know at the time you call to schedule.