Sore on Genitals
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Reviewed By:

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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  • Genital sores (private parts)

  • Private parts have ulcers

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About the Symptom

A genital ulcer is an open sore or break in the skin, exposing the underlying tissue, located on the genital area, including the vulva, penis, perianal region, or anus.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Genital ulcers

Possible Causes

Generally, Sore on genitals can be related to:

  • Genital Herpes

    This is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). It causes small, painful blisters on the private parts.

  • Porphyria

    Porphyrias are a group of inherited or acquired disorders caused by a buildup of natural chemicals that produce porphyrin in the body. Porphyrins are necessary for hemoglobin function. Common triggers include drugs (birth control pills, sedatives, etc.), fasting, smoking, drinking alcohol, infections, emotional and physical stress, hormonal imbalance, and sun exposure.

  • Behcet's Disease

    A rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. Symptoms may include mouth and genital sores, as well as eye inflammation. As the disease progresses, joints and internal organs could also be affected.

  • Syphilis (Including Syphilitic Alopecia)
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Vulvar Cancer
  • Anal Cancer
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hemorrhoid

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Sore on genitals may be related to these serious diseases:

  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

    This serious condition affects the skin and mucous membranes, causing rashes, blisters, and peeling. It can be life threatening. The cause may be a reaction to medication, an infection, or environmental and genetic factors. Those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk.

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have sores or erosion in your private area?

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References

  • Roett MA. Genital Ulcers: Differential Diagnosis and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2020 Mar 15;101(6):355-361. PMID: 32163252.

    https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2020/0315/p355.html

  • Engelkens HJ, Stolz E. Genital ulcer disease. Int J Dermatol. 1993 Mar;32(3):169-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4362.1993.tb02787.x. PMID: 8444527.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-4362.1993.tb02787.x

  • Parra-Sánchez M. Genital ulcers caused by herpes simplex virus. Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin (Engl Ed). 2019 Apr;37(4):260-264. English, Spanish. doi: 10.1016/j.eimc.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Dec 21. PMID: 30580877.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0213005X18303744?via%3Dihub

Reviewed By:

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Yoshinori Abe, MD (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Abe graduated from The University of Tokyo School of Medicine in 2015. He completed his residency at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Longevity Medical Center. He co-founded Ubie, Inc. in May 2017, where he currently serves as CEO & product owner at Ubie. Since December 2019, he has been a member of the Special Committee for Activation of Research in Emergency AI of the Japanese Association for Acute Medicine. | | Dr. Abe has been elected in the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Healthcare & Science category.

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc

Unnati Patel, MD, MSc (Family Medicine)

Dr.Patel serves as Center Medical Director and a Primary Care Physician at Oak Street Health in Arizona. She graduated from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine prior to working in clinical research focused on preventive medicine at the University of Illinois and the University of Nevada. Dr. Patel earned her MSc in Global Health from Georgetown University, during which she worked with the WHO in Sierra Leone and Save the Children in Washington, D.C. She went on to complete her Family Medicine residency in Chicago at Norwegian American Hospital before completing a fellowship in Leadership in Value-based Care in conjunction with the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, where she earned her MBA. Dr. Patel’s interests include health tech and teaching medical students and she currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine.

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