Many of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are often identified by a few common symptoms. For example, herpes often causes genital warts and bumps around the mouth or genitals.
But sometimes, STDs cause less obvious and less well-known symptoms. One of the symptoms that is often difficult to recognize is dry skin. Indeed, dry skin can be a sign that you have an STD.
Often, “STD” is used interchangeably with the term sexually transmitted infection (STI), but they are different. An STI is an infection that can develop into an STD. For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease, unless it leads to genital warts or cervical cancer, which are sexually transmitted diseases.
In this article, we will mainly discuss dry skin caused by STDs. We’ll also look at some of the main STIs and their connection to dry skin.
Dry skin is a common symptom of a number of conditions, from allergies and psoriasis to sexually transmitted diseases. Any patches of dry skin you develop are not necessarily a sign you have an STD, but if you have other symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your healthcare professional for a full STD screening.
Let’s review the STDs that can cause dry skin – as well as other symptoms these STDs cause – so you can spot them when or if they happen.
Herpes is an STD caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of HSV, and each can cause lesions or warts along the mouth or genitals. They can also cause:
- itchy skin
- dry skin
Furthermore, people with herpes have a higher risk of developing eczema herpeticum. This is a serious skin infection that can be deadly if not treated properly.
Symptoms of this condition include burning, tingling, and itchy skin. It usually appears along the neck and head, but it can occur anywhere on the body. It is also more likely to occur 5 to 12 days after being exposed to a person with HSV.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by this bacteria Treponema pallidum. During the secondary stage of infection, about 3 to 6 weeks after infection, it is not uncommon to have a dry, scaly rash on the body. They’re more common on your palms or soles, and they’re not likely to cause itching.
In addition to dry skin, people in this second stage of infection may also experience a sore throat, fever, and flu-like symptoms.
Genital warts are a sexually transmitted disease caused by the HPV virus. In addition to the skin-colored bumps that frequently develop around the genitals or anus, the HPV virus can cause dry and itchy skin. The wart itself can be dry and itchy, as can the skin around the wart. In addition, skin elsewhere on the body can become dry due to an infection.
AIDS is an STD that can develop if you have HIV. Over time, HIV can damage and weaken the immune system. This can make the symptoms of the virus worse. When the immune system weakens, other symptoms of HIV infection or AIDS develop. Skin symptoms, including dry skin and a rash, may be one of these.
Sexually transmitted diseases are the cause of some of the most common STDs that can cause symptoms like dry skin. These STIs include:
Dry skin on or near the groin is not always a sign of an STI or STD. It could be a sign of some other underlying disease or condition. Including:
- Yeast infection. In addition to the itching and burning caused by yeast overgrowth in the vagina, the skin around the groin can become dry and irritated. Penile yeast infections can also occur.
- Itching in the groin area. As the name suggests, this common fungal infection can cause the skin near the genitals and groin to itch. The common ring-shaped rash with itching can also be dry.
- Prurigo mole. This skin disease causes dry, itchy lumps and rashes all over the body. It usually occurs in people with weakened immune systems or those with immunocompromised diseases.
- Psoriasis. This skin condition is not limited to your head and arms. Psoriasis can develop in the genital area and cause dry and itchy skin on or near the penis, scrotum, anus, vulva, upper thighs, and folds of the buttocks. In fact, up to two-thirds of people with psoriasis will have genital psoriasis.
If you already have persistent dryness that doesn’t improve with over-the-counter moisturizers like lotions, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a medical professional. While many causes of dry skin have nothing to do with STDs or STIs, some do. In those cases, you should get a diagnosis and start any treatment so that there is no risk of complications.
People who have sex with multiple partners should consider STD screening once to twice a year. You may also want to consider screening before entering a new relationship.
Many of the most common STIs and STDs do not cause symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Knowing before you reach that point can help you get treated and prepare to avoid spreading an STD to your partner.
Dry skin can occur anywhere on the body and is often the result of problems such as allergies, inflammation, or skin irritation. But dry skin in the groin can cause another set of alarms. That’s because dry skin can be a sign of an STD.
If you can recognize the signs and symptoms of an STD, including uncommon ones like dry skin, you can start treatment right away. Regular STD testing is also a good idea.