Most of you would have noticed white patches of skin on cheeks, thighs or hands on your body or someone else’s body. Those patches of skin are caused due to loss of melanin, the pigment that gives colour to our skin. Why they lose that pigment and why particularly in those spots is still unknown. That medical condition is termed as ‘Vitiligo’ and when such patches occur on the penis, it is called “Penile Vitiligo”.
People with Penile Vitiligo, usually find the patches on foreskin or on the skin covering the shaft of the penis but not on the glans of the penis.
Symptoms of Penile Vitiligo
If you have noticed Vitiligo on the skin of your penis, you should also check your body and look for patches on other parts of the body, most often you will find more. Along with skin patches, you may also notice the following symptoms:
- Greying of hair (white hair)
- Loss of colour in the mucus membrane (along the lining of the mouth or nose)
- Loss of pigments in the inner lining of the eyeball that leads to vision changes.
You must note that penile Vitiligo is not contagious. It does not have any effect on your regular sex life or having erections. Should you have problems having or sustaining an erection, or if you have problem with ejaculation, there should be a different reason for the issue and you must get in touch with your sexologist right away.
Types of penile vitiligo:
Depending on the areas to which Vitiligo has spread, Vitiligo has been categorized into three types:
- Localized Vitiligo – Where the skin patches are found only in one or two areas
- Generalized Vitiligo – Skin patches are found across the body
- Segmental Vitiligo – Patches are found on only one side of the body.
Causes of Penile Vitiligo
Similar to many medical conditions, Penile Vitiligo is also a condition for which no particular reason is known to our medical experts. Many are of the opinion that, Penile Vitiligo is caused due to autoimmune disorder.
Autoimmune Disorder is a condition where the immune system mistakes healthy cells of the body as foreign cells and attacks them. If you are suffering from other autoimmune diseases such as lupus or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you are higher risk of developing Penile Vitiligo or Vitiligo on your body.
In some cases, hereditary also plays a role in Vitiligo.
Diagnosis of Penile Vitiligo
Initially your sexologist should start with a physical examination. He/she may also look for Vitiligo on other parts of your body. An ultraviolet light may be used to confirm that it’s Vitiligo.
In some cases, your doctor may take out a small skin sample for biopsy to rule out a medical condition called ‘Balanitis Xerotica Obiterans’. Balanitis Xerotica Obiterans starts as small itchy red patch that turns silvery over a period of time. If any of your family members are also victims of Vitiligo, you must let your doctor know.
Treatment of Penile Vitiligo
Unless you are bothered by the patches on your penis or if your partner doesn’t like it, you don’t need to opt for any kind of treatment for Penile Vitiligo. This does not cause any sexual dysfunction.
Since Penis is a sensitive area, treatment of penile Vitiligo has to be done very carefully.
- Medical treatment of Penile Vitiligo – Your sexologist may put you on to creams or ointments that can reduce the appearance of the patches. These ointments are usually made with Corticosteroids that affect body’s immune response. Remember that, you should not use any Corticosteroid medicine or cream without taking the advice of an expert doctor. Other ointments made with pimecrolimus may be prescribed instead of Corticosteroid creams.
- Light therapy – Ultraviolet A, Ultraviolet B or excimer light helps in restoring the pigments in the patches on the skin. This has to be done by only an expert sexologist and not just by any sexologist. Exposure of your genitals to ultraviolet light by an inexperienced sexologist can result in increasing the risk of cancer.
- Surgery – If medical and light therapies do not prove to be of any help, your doctor may take the skin from other areas of the body and graft on to the patches. If luckily you have the patches on the foreskin, circumcision will be a quicker and easier solution.
As mentioned, Penile Vitiligo is a harmless medical condition and you need not necessarily go for treatment unless it is bothering you or your partner during your intimate moments. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and maintain good hygiene along with good workout to keep your body in good health at all times.