Causes of a Rash on the Genital Area



The discovery of a genital rash can be both painful and embarrassing. However, before panic sets in, it is important to realize that although some genital rashes may be serious, many are harmless and will disappear on their own, or with the help of an over the counter lotion or cream. Regardless of the case, any rash that continues for more than a week, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as a high fever, should be checked out as soon as possible by a medical professional.

Contact Dermatitis

One of the most common reasons for a rash on the genital area is contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a reaction to any irritant. This can be your laundry detergent, clothing fabric, soap, or latex (such as from condoms). Rashes caused by contact dermatitis usually clear up on their own once the irritant is removed from the skin.

Jock Itch

Jock itch, or tinea cruris, is another common reason for rashes around the genital area. Jock itch is a fungus that grows in moist areas, especially around the groin. This can result in a severely itchy ring-shaped rash. Keeping your groin dry and clean, and treating the area with an anti-fungal cream or spray, should help the rash clear up, as well as prevent future problems with jock itch.

Pubic Lice

Pubic lice, commonly referred to as "crabs," are also a common cause of rashes around the genital area. Pubic lice are commonly spread through sexual contact, but can also be spread through close personal contact in some cases. They bite at the skin around the genitals, causing an itchy rash. Pubic lice can be treated both through prescription medications as well as over the counter treatments.


Certain sexually transmitted disease (STDs) can also cause rashes around the genitals. For example, the bacteria treponema pallidum, or syphilis, can cause a rash to occur around the infected genital area. Other STDs such as gonorrhea or herpes also may cause a rash around the genital area. In any instance, if you experience a rash after unprotected sex, you should see your health care provider immediately.

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