Itches can be annoying. An itchy penis, on the other hand, well, that can be painful, embarrassing, and a pathway to infection. Since scratching won’t take the itch away forever, a little research can. Here are 5 reasons a man may be experiencing penis itching and how he can stop the scratching ASAP.

Itchy Penis Reason #1: Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a fancy name for an allergic reaction. This happens when the skin comes into contact with something it’s allergic to. This will cause a super-itchy, red, bumpy rash. It may even ooze a clear or yellowish fluid. It can be caused by new laundry detergents, body lotions, or even condoms. Don’t be surprised if other body parts also itch.

Fix it: Pause and think about any recent changes that have been made. Once you identify the culprit, stop using it, stat! Now, simply wash and thoroughly rinse the skin. The rash will go away in a week or two. Take Benadryl to calm discomfort and reduce inflammation.

Itchy Penis Reason #2: Fungal Infections

Hold the mushrooms! If a man experiences penis itching and a rash, it could be a fungus. A yeast infection will create shiny areas on the penis and some white discharge and a red, angry rash. Other fungi, jock itch, for example, has a circular appearance with raised ridges.

Fix it: Once you and/or a doctor determine what type of fungus is causing it, treat accordingly. Most fungal infections can be soothed with a topical antifungal cream. Be sure to keep the area clean and very dry, since fungus loves moisture.

Itchy Penis Reason #3: Pubic Lice

You may be housing some unwanted tenants. Symptoms of pubic lice also include irritation, redness, and tiny specks. It’s a parasite often called crabs. If the specks are white or yellow, it’s eggs. If they are tan or grayish in hue, it is the lice themselves. If you have a magnifying glass handy and want to take a closer look, you’ll see that they resemble itty bitty crabs, hence the nickname. You can contract pubic lice from sexual contact or using things like blankets or sharing clothing with someone who has them.

Fix it: Get to the doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. If it is pubic lice, you’ll get a special shampoo or lotion that will kill the lice.

Itchy Penis Reason #4: Genital Warts

Genital warts are a common symptom of the STI human papillomavirus (HPV). Genital warts are usually soft to the touch, flesh-colored, and may look like a cauliflower.

Fix it: Again, get to the doctor for a diagnosis. Treatment could include medication or freezing the warts off. Unfortunately, this cannot be cured and can be spread to others even if a wart is not present, so be sure to disclose your status before sexual contact.

Itchy Penis Reason #5: Herpes

For some men, penis itching can be the first symptom of this sexually transmitted infection, which is caused by the herpes virus. The itching will lead to burning, and then a blister or cluster of blisters will pop up.

Fix it: After a diagnosis from your doctor, it’s likely your doctor will prescribe antiviral medication to quell the outbreak and stop others from happening in the future. Herpes is a chronic condition and cannot be cured entirely. Use caution and condoms when sexually active and disclose your status in advance of sexual contact. Herpes can be spread even when you don’t have a noticeable outbreak.

Prevent an Itchy Penis

In addition to practicing safe sex and having a thorough daily hygiene routine, men can apply a specially formulated penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to keep penile skin in good form. This oil will calm and soothe irritated skin plagued by itchiness. It will also strengthen the skin and protect it from infection. It’s a daily penis health habit every man should start as soon as possible.