Feature Article

Male genital dermatology: beyond sexually acquired diseases

Anthony Hall



Most common diseases of male genitalia are not sexually transmissible infections (STIs) or cancer, although some are precursors for invasive carcinoma. Diseases to look out for include lichen sclerosus and genital in situ squamous cell carcinoma.

Key Points

  • Most diseases of male genitalia are common inflammatory skin diseases.
  • Although dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis are the most common genital skin diseases, male patients are often fearful of a sexually transmissible infection (STI) or cancer.
  • An incorrect diagnosis of an STI leads to inappropriate treatment and unnecessary distress.
  • Lichen sclerosus is the most important inflammatory disease causing phimosis with a small lifetime risk of penile carcinoma.
  • Genital in situ squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) has three clinical variants with different risks of transformation to invasive SCC.
  • Genital melanotic macules can be confused with melanoma.
  • Red burning scrotum syndrome is an under-recognised distressing disorder.