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Genital Itch, No Rash: Herpes, Eczema, or ???
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Genital Itch, No Rash: Herpes, Eczema, or ???

Hi Doc-
   I am in my early 30s and am male. I wrote back in July 2002. For about 9 weeks now, I've had itching in the genital area off and on. (mostly in the scrotum area but also on the penis shaft) For almost every day (often more than once per day) of the 2 months, I have checked the area thoroughly and I have not noticed any visible rash (no red bumps) anywhere. The itch seems to occur in different areas of the scrotum (towards the base) but also all about - the itch will last about 5-10 seconds per itch point and then pause. It may repeat like this for a period of up to 30 minutes. Sometimes, a lapse of 30 minutes occurs between itching. Sometimes, days go by (3-4) before the itching occurs again. I have noticed the itch to wake me up early in the morning and/or as soon as I woke up I noticed the itch (thus, I am now thinking that it isn't just my nerves).

  I have tried to correlate the itch back to episodes of unprotected vaginal sex with a new partner, since it seemed to have started sometime (maybe 10-14 days) after I started having sex with her. She claimed that her GYN certified her healthy approx. 1 week even before we had our first sexual encounter.

    In any case, I have seen a dermatologist (3 weeks ago) about the itch; he prescribed elidel 1%, and zonalom (sp?) cream. He said to use the elidel first. He said that he didn't see any visible signs of anything, but that sometimes the "nerves flare up [in skin areas]". I talked to a pharmacist and also searched info. about 'elidel' on the internet -- it seems to combat eczema. I've never been known to have eczema (as I understand from reading that one usually catches this in childhood).

  At present, I am worried about herpes. I have noticed many websites on the Internet claiming that "recurrent" genital itch can be a sign of herpes (even without visible sores/blisters). I have read your previous responses that indicate that herpes can only be confirmed with visible sores. During the past 9 weeks, I haven't had any fever/bad colds and no other conditions (claimed by the websites) of herpes except for this itch. Need I wait for a year for the "first outbreak" or should I get a HSV II blood test or go back to the dermatologist and ask him to scrape to do a skin test (scrap randomly selected areas)? Or what can I do to confirm/deny herpes? If it is herpes, need I wash my hands thoroughly after inspecting myself? Wash with what? very hot water?

  OR

Could it be something else? Like what? (too much worrying?) (I tried your Sarna lotion, but my skin isn't scaly and the Sarna lotion seemed to lite the skin up like a blow-torch had hit it -- everything was very very inflamed/burny -- so I immediately washed it off).
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There's nothing for the dermatologist to scrape.

A negative herpes II test would be reassuring, and since you seem so concerned (unnecessarily, from what you've written), perhaps you should consider that.

I repeat that I really don't know how people can assert that recurrent itching-- a common symptom in the groin -- is a sign of herpes, in the absence of any visible sign, ever.

Please reassure yourself to your own satisfaction, so you can get on with things.  If Sarna is too harsh, just use a bland moisturizer like Lubriderm.  Elidel was probably intended to reduce inflammation as it does in visible eczema.  That seems like a harmless enough and possibly fruitful approach.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
4 Comments
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I forgot to mention that I have used the elidel on like two occassions -- it didn't even seem to work. The only thing that seemed to subdue the itching was 'maximum strength LANACANE'. In the 9 week period, only on a single day did I show an area of redness on the back top part of the penis shaft for about 6 hours -- the redness was slight (no bumps) and was go in the morning (I can email you a picture). At the time, I attributed it to an over-application of LANACANE, which the dermatologist said he wasn't sure if I should use in the genital area anyway. And, finally I would describe the strength of the itch as mild to medium-mild. Its recurrence bothers me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have small lumps that look like bug bites on my genital area.  I have counted five so far that are this size.  For a while now, I have been itching like crazing down there, but I have had no sexual contact with anyone for the past few months.  The swelling of these lumps goes down occasionally, but they dont go away, theyre still there but they turn somewhat flesh colored.  I think it may be dry skin, and the lumps are just clogged pores from not washing often enough.  What do you think it could be? And what should I do about it?
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Avatar_n_tn
  i have the same thing exactly and i checked with several doctors and nobody seems to know anything , especially that part about the itch occuring early in the morning and sometimes waking you up , i have had it for abou 9 months now, if you found out waht it is i would really appreciate it if you let me know.
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A related discussion, I have the itch was started.
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