Syphilis. The skin symptoms of syphilis vary depending on which stage of the infection is present. In primary syphilis, a single painless ulcer called a chancre can occur on the genitals (or other areas of the body) where infection took place. It can occur internally—for example in the vagina or on the cervix in women, or in the anus in men and women—and may not be noticed because there is no pain. There may be more than one lesion, and swelling of the lymph nodes of the groin is also common. In secondary syphilis, there can be many genital skin changes, ranging from lesions that resemble genital warts (hard, painless bumps) to skin rashes that look like flat red patches or are raised and scaly like those of psoriasis, among others. Sometimes the rashes itch. A rash that occurs on the palms and soles is characteristic of secondary syphilis. All of these skin changes will usually vanish on their own, even if the person does not receive treatment for syphilis, but the underlying infection is still present.

Warts. Genital warts are usually symptom-free bumps that can occur in the genital and anal area. They are harder than the surrounding skin and can either have a cauliflower-like appearance or be flat. They itch slightly in about 20 percent of people who have them and can bleed if scratched or picked at. They may resolve spontaneously, stay the same size, or grow slowly over time.

Yeast. Both men and women can contract yeast infections in the genital area. One type of yeast, Tinea cruris, causes a red, scaly, itchy rash in the genital area and groin, known as jock itch. Men and women can also become infected in the genitals with the fungus Candida albicans. Women who are infected may have a clumpy white discharge from the vagina. In men, the rash is often red and flaky. Men who have not been circumcised are more likely to get a fungal rash on the penis, particularly under the foreskin.


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