Penis Skin Discoloration: Is Vitiligo the Cause?

Many men have questions concerning penis skin discoloration, mostly those who notice that there is some variation in color across their members, or that their penises are a different color than the rest of their bodies. These cases are not unusual and are generally natural and harmless. But for some men, penis discoloration occurs in the form of vitiligo, a condition that causes patches of skin to lose pigmentation and turn white or lighter than the surrounding skin. Does this affect penis health? What can men do about it? The following information on vitiligo can help men get their bearings.

What is it?

Vitiligo occurs when cells in the body that normally produce skin color, called melanocytes, either stop working properly or die. Some people also experience the lightening effect on their hair and eyeballs, not just the skin. The causes of vitiligo are poorly understood, but the following are believed to be potential sources:

– Heredity

– Immune system dysfunction in which it attacks melanocytes

– Stress

– Sunburn

– Exposure to chemicals

The condition affects individuals differently. Some people have many affected body parts; others may have only one body part or side of the body affected; still others may have the condition on a few nearby parts. Sometimes, the condition progresses rapidly; sometimes it goes on for many years; other times, it stops after a year or two. It’s rare for pigmentation to return.

Is it dangerous?

Yes and no. The white patches cause no physical harm. However, people with vitiligo may be more at risk for sunburn, skin cancer, hearing loss and eye issues. It’s important to keep affected skin protected from the sun. Finally, social and psychological distress may occur as people often feel self-conscious about the effects of the condition.

Is there a cure?

No. There is currently no way to revive melanocytes or make them begin to produce pigment again.

Are there ways to manage it?

Yes, although many of them come with side effects.

A simple at-home management strategy that some people with vitiligo use is a topical self-tanner or makeup to conceal the lightened skin. For men with penis vitiligo, their skin may be too sensitive for this option – not to mention, it might interfere with sexual activities.

Corticosteroid creams can alleviate some of the lightening; however, they tend to make skin thinner over time, and can cause lines to form on the skin.

Immune system medications are sometimes used. These drugs may increase a person’s risk of skin cancer and lymphoma.

Some people are treated with ultraviolet light. Again, for the penis, this may be too harsh, as the treatment can cause dryness and itchiness on less delicate skin.

These are only some of the common treatments used in the management of vitiligo. Men and their doctors should discuss the risks associated with any option before choosing to try it. Also discuss alternative medicine options, including ginko biloba, folic acid and vitamin B-12.

How will it affect a man’s sex life?

One factor determining the answer to this question is a man’s own self-consciousness. If he has anxiety about exposing his penis to a partner, he’s bound to have a more difficult sex life.

Speaking openly about the condition can help partners feel at ease about sex. While there’s no reason for men to feel ashamed or embarrassed about the condition, most people don’t know what it is and potential sex partners are bound to have questions. Approaching these with knowledge and information will help. If a partner has further concerns, he or she can easily access information from reputable sites online.

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