Penile vitiligo is of course not a serious disease. We call it a social disease. Vitiligo can appear throughout all areas of the body or it may affect just a particular part.

Penile Vitiligo Can Be Treated – See How?

October 25, 2022 by Dr. Sandeep Bhasin
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Penile vitiligo is of course not a serious disease. We call it a social disease. Vitiligo can appear throughout all areas of the body or it may affect just a particular part.

Depending on the symptomatic distribution, vitiligo is of three subtypes:

  • Generalized vitiligo – occurs throughout the body
  • Segmental vitiligo – occurs only on one side of your body
  • Localized vitiligo – affects only a specific area

There are many patients who have vitiligo (white patches) only on their penile parts. But they refuse to take any treatment. They feel awkward disclosing this issue to the physician. Patients just buy online products and use them. But they don’t directly opt for proper treatment.

Remember that vitiligo cannot be self-treated like cough or cold. In fact, patients having penile vitiligo require timely motivational consultation.

Penile vitiligo can be cured for sure. But they should be ready to undergo the treatment. So, let’s discuss the causes of the development of white patches on the penis region followed by the treatment.

What is Penile Vitiligo?

Penile vitiligo is a skin problem that leads to the appearance of patches or spots causing loss of melanin pigment. It’s the melanin pigment that gives color to your hair and skin. So, if any part of your body loses melanin, that specific portion appears light in color.

As mentioned already, vitiligo can occur throughout your body or any specific body part. If vitiligo affects your Penile Discoloration, then this condition is referred to as penile vitiligo.

What are the Common Symptoms of Penile Vitiligo?

The major symptoms of penile vitiligo are spots or patches of depigmented skin. Penile Vitiligo occurs on the shaft and foreskin, compared to the head of the penis part (glans).

If you observe Penile vitiligo on your private parts, you may subsequently come across symptoms in other areas of your body, even if you didn’t get it.

You may experience other symptoms such as

  • The appearance of grey hair
  • Vision changes due to loss of pigment in the inner lining of the eyeball
  • Loss of color in mucus membrane including the lining of your nose and mouth

Remember you can develop penile vitiligo at any age. There is no specific age group. Moreover, penile vitiligo is not contagious. It doesn’t affect the health or function of your penis area.

Short-Summary

If you experience pain, erectile dysfunction, or difficulty while urinating, you should consult a urologist immediately. Penile vitiligo won’t cause such issues. They might have occurred due to some other ailment.

What Causes Penile Vitiligo?

Researchers are unable to find the cause of the abrupt halt in melanin production. Few of them assume that it occurs due to an autoimmune condition. It’s an issue where your immune system attacks your healthy cells.

In case you have an autoimmune disease like lupus, you are prone to develop penile vitiligo. Even heredity plays a vital role. If vitiligo runs in your family, you are likely to develop it.

How to Diagnose Penile Vitiligo?

A thorough physical examination of the penis region is enough to detect penile vitiligo. Moreover, if it affects the penis, there is a chance of getting it in other body parts. Hence, the physician will examine the other parts of your body. At times, the physician passes an ultraviolet light upon the affected area to confirm its appearance.

In case you have other symptoms such as soreness or redness, the physician will perform a biopsy test. He will take a skin sample from the affected area and view it under a microscope. The biopsy test helps the physician to detect whether the patient has a skin disease namely balanitis xerotica obliterans.

It appears in red color and becomes sore and itchy. Over time, the affected region will turn into a white patch.

Short-Summary

However, keep in mind to inform your physician if anyone in your family has vitiligo or any other autoimmune disease.

Read Too: Know More About Melanocyte Transplantation

Is There Any Treatment for Penile Vitiligo?

Since the penis region is too sensitive, it may be difficult for the patients to open up, diagnose, or get it treated. However, keep in mind that penile vitiligo doesn’t affect your overall health in any way. So, you don’t require immediate treatment.

Still, there are methods to bring back your original skin tone in your penis area. Let’s discuss them in detail:

1.    Medications

Your physician may recommend topical corticosteroid ointments that possess anti-inflammatory effects. However, prolonged use of these corticosteroid creams can lead to several side effects like skin atrophy and skin irritation. Among these ointments, tacrolimus or pimecrolimus are more effective with fewer complications.

A 2007 research study shows that one percent of pimecrolimus cream can restore pigmentation in children with penile vitiligo [1].

Oral minocycline (100mg daily) helps to treat vitiligo due to its anti-inflammatory effect. It slowly arrests the progression of the disease in 91 percent of patients with vitiligo [2].

Short-Summary

Similarly, methotrexate can successfully halt the disease from spreading. Moreover, patients can find substantial repigmentation within three months of initiating methotrexate therapy (7.5mg weekly) [3].

2.    Light therapy

Light therapy is of two types:

  • Ultraviolet A/B
  • Excimer light

These light therapies can successfully restore skin pigmentation in your penile discoloration. However, too much UV exposure can become dangerous. You may become prone to the development of cancer. So, the physician may combine UV therapy with psoralen. Psoralen helps your body to absorb UV light.

Even a 2012 research study supports this finding. Psoralen with UVA light therapy reverses melanocyte degeneration in the affected regions [4].

3.    Surgery

If the above treatments don’t work, surgery will be the last option. The surgeon may opt for circumcision if you have vitiligo only on your foreskin. Else, he will transplant a small part of the skin from one region of your body to the affected part. However, it’s very hard to do the same on the penis area, if vitiligo affects a large area.

Grafting and cellular transplantation techniques showed 80-90 percent re-pigmentation rates [3].

Moreover, several top-notch clinics perform combinational therapy. A 2010 research study involving combinational therapy arrested disease progression and delivered good-to-excellent (80–100%) re-pigmentation in 70.4 percent of patients. This combinational therapy includes oral prednisolone, CO2 laser resurfacing of the recipient site, and epidermal skin grafting, followed by topical 0.1% betamethasone.

Hence, our medical experts from Care Well Medical Centre offers this combinational therapy for the best outcomes. To know how we perform this procedure in detail, watch the video:

What’s the Take-Away?

The appearance of penile vitiligo might haunt you. However, remember that this condition is completely harmless. It’s not contagious too. So, you don’t have to worry. Moreover, you can get back your original skin tone! It’s 100 percent possible.

But you should be ready to undergo consultation, diagnosis, and treatment. However, don’t opt for any sub-standard products available on the internet. If you want to get back your original skin tone, go for a proper medical consultation. Moreover, check if the spots are disseminated. If so, we recommend not delaying its treatment.

At first, there might be spots here and there. But it’s impossible to predict how large they might turn out to be. There is a chance of dissemination of this skin discoloration. So, physicians always recommend early and timely treatment.

FAQsPenile Vitiligo Treatment

Can vitiligo on private parts be cured?

With the advanced technology in the medical and cosmetic fields, there are multiple treatments available. The treatment options for vitiligo primarily focus on covering up existing depigmentation, preventing the spreading of color loss, and temporary repigmentation. However, vitiligo does not have any known permanent cure to date.

Listed below are the most common treatment options for vitiligo. Let us have a look:

  • Surgery – For instance, skin grafting.
  • Camouflage therapy – It uses skin dyes and makeup.
  • Light therapy involves UVB light exposure with light boxes or lasers. It has to be done multiple times a week. 
  • Medications and topical creams like corticosteroids. 

Some researches show that TCIs or topical calcineurin inhibitors might effectively reverse skin color loss in adults and children with vulvar vitiligo. Skin specialists prescribe TCIs, and they possess immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Nowadays, some healthcare clinics or hospitals treat vaginal vitiligo using UV light therapy and topical corticosteroids. However, these treatments also possess their drawbacks. Hence, it is essential to undergo such therapies under the guidance of well-trained professionals.

Does vitiligo affect sperm?

Researches show that semen analysis is negatively affected in patients suffering from vitiligo. Penile Vitiligo is not a contagious disease. It does not affect one’s sex life. Men have no issues with erections, and even the sperm count goes unaffected due to this discoloration disorder. However, if an individual takes stress due to their appearance, there are chances of their sex life being affected. Therefore, if one faces any issues with ejaculation, consult a sexologist. There might be a different cause for the same.

Can low testosterone cause vitiligo?

To date, there has been no evidence of vitiligo caused due to low testosterone. Therefore, you need not worry about contracting vitiligo if your testosterone count is affected.

Is penile vitiligo dangerous?

Penile vitiligo causes loss of skin coloration in patches. Generally, the discoloration of skin areas gets more oversized with time. Penile vitiligo is not contagious or life-threatening. But, it can affect people of all skin types. However, it is more noticeable in people with black or brown skin color. With vitiligo affecting skin coloration, it affects the confidence and self-esteem of people. It can cause stress and make one feel embarrassed about their appearance. Mentally this disease can cause harm to one’s peace and morale. 

Treatment for penile vitiligo is possible, and physicians might be able to restore the lost skin color of your affected skin. But, even the treatments cannot prevent the continued loss of skin coloration or reoccurrence.

Why do I have vitiligo on my private parts?

Vitiligo is a disease that causes skin patches to lose melanin. Melanin is the pigment that provides color to your hair and skin. Vitiligo can occur anywhere on your skin including the inner parts of your mouth and even hair. Vitiligo can also occur on the penis. Experts have not been able to specify a cause as to why some individuals stop melanin production in some areas of the body. But some experts believe that it may be an autoimmune condition. 

Autoimmune is a condition when the self-immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s healthy cells. If someone features another autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or lupus, they possess a high risk of contracting vitiligo. On another note, one may be more likely to develop vitiligo if their family has a genetic history of vitiligo. 

Can vitiligo cause infertility?

Researches and studies show that vitiligo does affect fertility. Patients suffering from vitiligo were found to have low birth rates significantly. The research found the percentage to be merely 0.870%. Also, it has been found that the spontaneous abortion rates in women with vitiligo are higher. Percentage-wise nearly 1.250% of women faced spontaneous abortion issues.

References

  1. Souza Leite RM, Craveiro Leite AA. Two therapeutic challenges: periocular and genital vitiligo in children successfully treated with pimecrolimus cream. Int J Dermatol. 2007 Sep;46(9):986-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2007.03282.x. PMID: 17822508.
  2. Parsad D, Kanwar A. Oral minocycline in the treatment of vitiligo–a preliminary study. Dermatol Ther. 2010 May-Jun;23(3):305-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8019.2010.01328.x. PMID: 20597950.
  3. Dillon AB, Sideris A, Hadi A, Elbuluk N. Advances in Vitiligo: An Update on Medical and Surgical Treatments. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(1):15-28.
  4. Anbar TS, El-Sawy AE, Attia SK, et al. Effect of PUVA therapy on melanocytes and keratinocytes in non-segmental vitiligo: a histopathological, immuno-histochemical, and ultrastructural study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2012;28:17–25.
  5. El Hoseny SM. Treatment of upper-and lower-extremity vitiligo with epidermal grafts after CO2 laser resurfacing with systemic and topical steroids. Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2010;34:157–166.
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Dr. Sandeep Bhasin

Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is a highly skilled cosmetic surgeon and the owner of Care Well Medical Centre in Delhi. With extensive expertise in cosmetic and plastic surgery, he is dedicated to providing exceptional care and transformative results to his patients. Dr. Sandeep Bhasin obtained his MBBS and MS in General Surgery from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and served as a consultant at Bhaktshreshtha Kamalakarpant Laxman Walawalkar Hospital, Diagnostic & Research Centre. Specializing in various procedures such as face-lifts, rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast augmentation, hair transplant and many others, Dr. Sandeep Bhasin is committed to enhancing his patients' natural beauty and self-confidence.

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