I have been with my partner for eight months, but very recently I have developed blisters on my penis. Are they caused by having sex? What can I do to get rid of them?
Blisters on the genitals can be a sign of having a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and while it is not uncommon to have harmless spots or lumps on the genitals it's a good idea to get them checked out by a doctor (GP) as soon as possible.
There are many different types of STIs and they can be spread in different ways, not just through penetrative sex. Also, when someone becomes infected with an STI they don't always get symptoms straight away. Sometimes it can take several weeks or months before someone gets signs of infection, while some people won't ever get symptoms at all.
It is common to feel nervous at the thought of being tested for an infection, but it is important to remember that most infections are easily treatable. Delaying treatment could mean that an infection gets worse and other problems could occur.
If you are worried that you may have an infection, you can get advice and testing at a genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Services are located attached to or within local hospitals, and are usually separate, discreet departments. GUM consultations are free and confidential, which means that no one will be told about your visit, unless you want them to be.
Tests for infections vary. Some involve taking swabs from the cervix or tip of the penis while others involve taking a urine or blood sample. Before being tested it is usual to see a health adviser who will discuss any concerns and reassure you about what the tests will involve.
To reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection in the future, always use a condom during sex. Dental dams (thin squares of latex) can also be used as a barrier during sex involving contact between the mouth and the vagina, or the mouth and the anus.
If you'd like further advice and information, you could call Brook's freephone helpline on 0800 0185 023.
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook