Genital skin problems

Created 2002.


Genital skin problems are very common and can be very itchy or painful, distressing and embarrassing. They can interfere with sexual functioning, self-image and interpersonal relationships. Some genital disorders are contagious, including sexually transmitted diseases.

This page provides links to information On DermNet NZ about skin conditions affecting the genital area.

Genital itch in males

Genital pain in males

Genital itch in females

Genital pain in females

Vaginal discharge

Non-sexually transmitted skin infections

Non-venereal skin infections may present in the genital area, presumably because the organisms thrive in warmth and humidity.

Bacterial infection

Bacterial skin infections include:

Fungal infections

Fungal skin infections include:

Viral infections

Viral skin infections include:


The groin is also a favoured site for some parasitic infestations:

Sexually transmitted infections

Important sexually transmitted infections (STIs) include:

Genital skin lesions

Non-infectious skin lesions and miscellaneous conditions that are commonly found in the genital area include:

How are genital disorders diagnosed?

Careful history and full skin examination, including of genital skin, are recommended. Tests often include:

  • Swabs from the affected skin, urethral or vagina for bacteria, yeast and virus culture
  • Blood tests
  • Skin biopsy

How are genital disorders treated?

Treatment depends on the individual condition.

Genital skin is delicate, so treatment must be undertaken gently. Wash once or twice daily with warm water. Avoid soap; a pH balanced non-soap cleanser can be used but should be rinsed off.

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