If a guy looks down at his favorite body part and red penis sores greet his gaze, his reaction is likely to be an understandable panic. After all, red penis sores generally indicate there’s something amiss in the penis health department. Quite a few things can be responsible for a red penis; surprisingly, one of the causes could be reactive arthritis, a condition about which many men know very little.

What kind of arthritis?

The reaction of many men to the idea of reactive arthritis causing penis problems is likely to be one of confusion. How can arthritis affect a dude’s equipment, after all? And many men might also think they are too young for any kind of arthritis.

Those reactions are understandable, but the reason that reactive arthritis could be a cause lies in the first part of its name - reactive. "Regular" arthritis refers to joint pain, typically caused either by bones wearing away joints over time or by inflammation of joints.

Reactive arthritis is a little different. It means that arthritis develops in a part of the body in reaction to an infection elsewhere in the body. And because it is reacting to an infection (rather than bone wearing away joints over time), it is a "young person’s" arthritis, found in people as young as 20 years of age.

The penis

So what happens with the penis in the event of reactive arthritis? Without bones to wear out joints, what kind of effect can arthritis have on it?

Reactive arthritis presents in the penis in the form or urethritis or lesions that create the red penis sores. The urethritis is in reaction to the presence of bacteria, presumably the same bacteria that brought on the arthritis itself in joints of the body (typically the knees). The dermatological lesions tend to appear on the glans of the penis.

In some instances, the red penis sores may not cause much discomfort. In other cases, they can be very itchy or tender, so that touching them can produce pain.


As mentioned above, reactive arthritis is responsive to an infection. This is often bacterial or fungal - but in some cases, the sores on the red penis are brought about through an STI, usually chlamydia bacteria. In these cases, the arthritis is reacting to the STI.

Chlamydia is one of the most common of STIs - about 1.4 million new cases are reported in the United States every year. Getting treatment promptly is crucial.

However, it should be emphasized that not all penis sores from reactive arthritis are due to chlamydia. Sometimes the source is a much less harmful bacteria.

Also, reactive arthritis may present in the form of conjunctivitis in the eyes. Along with the penis and various joints (such as the knee), this forms the "triad" that is generally associated with this form of arthritis. However, it is also important to note that not every case will be symptomatic in all three areas.

If a man believes he has reactive arthritis, it’s important to see a doctor and get an official diagnosis. Sticking to treatment is also imperative.

When the red penis sores from reactive arthritis have been eliminated, the penis may still feel a bit tender to the touch. Regular use of a first class penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can be helpful in soothing that discomfort. Choose a crème that is known for its moisturizing capabilities, such as one with both Shea butter (a high-end emollient) and vitamin E (a natural hydrator). When the skin is pampered with this combination, it regains its elasticity and tone. The best crème will also include vitamin D, known as the miracle vitamin because of its ability to fight disease and keep the penis healthy.