What causes vitiligo of the penis?
Experts are not sure why some people stop producing melanin in certain areas. But some believe it may be an autoimmune disease.
Autoimmune conditions occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. If you have another autoimmune condition, such as lupus or Hashimoto's disease you may have an increased risk of developing vitiligo.
You are also more likely to develop it if you have a family history of vitiligo.
How is vitiligo in the penis diagnosed?
Vitiligo is usually diagnosed during a complete physical exam. If you are affecting your penis, your doctor will likely examine the rest of your body as well. They may also shine ultraviolet light on the area to help confirm it's vitiligo.
Depending on your symptoms, too they can take a small sample of skin of your penis for examination under a microscope. This is known as a biopsy. It will help them rule out a condition called xerotic balanitis obliterans, an inflammatory skin condition. It starts as an itchy red sore. But over time, the affected skin may turn white.
Be sure to tell your doctor if other members of your family have vitiligo or autoimmune conditions.
How is vitiligo of the penis treated?
There is no way to completely treat vitiligo, but a few things can help regain some of your original skin tone. Remember, vitiligo of the penis has no effect on your health, so it does not require treatment.
Keep in mind that vitiligo on your penis may be more difficult to treat than vitiligo in other areas, due to the sensitivity of your genital skin.
The topical creams and ointments They can help reduce the appearance of vitiligo. These generally include corticosteroid anti-inflammatory creams or ointments that contain tacrolimus or pimecrolimus, which affect your body's immune response.
You should only use a corticosteroid cream on your penis if your doctor recommends it. Long-term use can cause side effects, such as skin irritation and skin atrophy.
The ointments they contain pimecrolimus or tacrolimus They can be more effective with fewer side effects. in 2007 they discovered that pimecrolimus cream almost completely restored pigmentation in two children with genital vitiligo.
Using ultraviolet A, ultraviolet B, or excimer light to help restore pigment to the skin of your penis can be effective.
However, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light to the genitals can also be dangerous and increase the risk of cancer, so be sure to work with a doctor who is very experienced in this type of treatment.
When combined with psoralen medications, light therapy can help mild cases of vitiligo. Psoralen is a compound that helps your body absorb UV light.
If other treatments are not effective, surgery may be an option.
If you only have vitiligo in the foreskin, circumcision can help. In other cases, a surgeon may take a small piece of skin from another area of your body and graft it into the affected area. But this can be difficult to do on the penis, especially if it is a large area.