An abnormally red penis may occur in men with some frequency, often as a result of balanitis. But there are times when a red penis may be a signal of or precursor to something more serious, such as reactive arthritis (also called Reiter’s syndrome). Paying careful attention to overall penis health can help prevent reactive arthritis from developing.

What is reactive arthritis?

As may be guessed from its name, reactive arthritis is a form of joint pain which occurs in reaction to something else. In this case, the arthritis develops in the joints in reaction to an infection - but the infection is generally far away from the affected joints. Most often the infection occurs in either the gastrointestinal system or the penis - specifically in the urethra.

Not every man who gets a urinary tract infection develops reactive arthritis. It is estimated that only about 1% of urethral infections result in this condition - and most of those seem to be caused by the STI known as chlamydia depositing bad bacteria in the tract. Men with chlamydia may experience discomfort while urinating; in addition, the urine may be accompanied by a discharge, usually one with an unpleasant aroma. Often, balanitis - an abnormal redness and inflammation, usually near the glans - also develops.

Swollen joints

Arthritis occurs when joints become inflamed and swollen. This keeps the joint from working properly, causing pain and difficulty in movement. With reactive arthritis, the joints most often affected are in the knees, ankles or toes; sometimes wrists or other areas may be affected, but this is less common.

Although reactive arthritis is rare, it should be noted that men are about nine times as likely as women to get this form of arthritis from an STI. It’s often hard to notice a link between the infection and the arthritis, as the latter usually occurs about 2 to 4 weeks after the infection begins. Once it starts, the arthritis tends to linger for 3 to 6 months, even with treatment.

As with other kinds of arthritis, the severity can vary significantly. Most people experience a mild to moderate level of pain, but in some cases it can be rather severe.


When the cause of the reactive arthritis is determined to be related to a urethral infection, the most common course of treatment involves antibiotics to fight the bacteria and return the red penis to normal. However, getting rid of the urethral issue does not cure the arthritis; once it starts, it will continue for some period of time.

Treating the arthritis generally involves painkillers or steroids. In some cases, the joint may be drained to help ease the pain.

Some people experience reactive arthritis only once; other people find that it may recur in the future, sometimes numerous times. Because of this, it’s especially important to help prevent it from occurring in the first place. Taking appropriate precautions to avoid the spread of any STIs is one very important way to do this.

It also helps to avoid a sore red penis and keep arthritis at bay by maintaining the overall health of the member. Using a top-drawer penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can make a substantial difference in the general health of the organ. When selecting a crème, a man should be sure that it lists vitamin D among its ingredients. Vitamin D is often nicknamed the "miracle" vitamin due to its pronounced ability to better enable cell functionality. Equally important is the inclusion of another crucial vitamin, B5. An aid to healthy penile function, vitamin B5 plays an important role in penis cell metabolism. Regular use of Man1 Man Oil helps promote better penis health.