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Dark areas around the penis or the genital region, in general, is something that perturbs people quite commonly but it is something that is observed by a lot of people. The presence of a dark ring around the penis is not something that should cause concern in isolation. It could be just an area of hyperpigmentation or a scar from where the penis was circumcised. Neither of these two conditions in uncommon and requires any medical treatment.

If, however, this dark ring around the penis has developed over a short period of time then it is better to have it looked at by your doctor. A family physician or an internal medicine specialist would be a good option for an initial consultation. They will refer you to a dermatologist if it looks like there is a need to have this checked out further.

Possible causes of a dark ring around the penis

 An area of altered coloration around the shaft of the penis could also be a sign of a fungal infection. In this case, the symptom of altered coloration would be accompanied by some amount of itching, redness, and possibly inflammation.

The change in coloration is also likely to be a reddish or whitish color rather than a dark ring formed across the penis.

While unlikely to be mistaken for a dark ring, a pigmented nevus (mole) could present as a slightly raised dark patch on the penis.

A condition called as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation could also be the cause behind a sudden increase in a darkly discolored area on the penis. This indicated the presence of a minor infection of the penis or possibly an injury that had occurred in the past.

It is advisable to check if you have noticed patches on any other part of the body because that could be a sign that something more serious is affecting the body at a systemic level. If the doctor thinks that it is a fungal infection that you are suffering from then you will be prescribed some topical antifungal ointments, and/or a systemic dose of antifungal medication.

Patients will be asked to refrain from sexual contact if an active fungal infection is believed to be the cause up until it has been resolved.


Typically, though, most cases of a dark ring around the penis are nothing to be concerned about and just depict a normal physiologic variation of our bodies. The color of the areolas also varies similarly among people, as does pigmentation of the skin in a number of different areas of the body.

It is advisable to observe the area that you are worried about and notice if there is any change in the dimension of the discoloration. Any associated ulceration, swelling, pain, or discharge, could be a sign of an active infection and something that needs to be looked into greater detail by your physician.  

The current protocol dictates that you get your sexual partner/partners in for an examination if the presence of a sexually transmitted infection is detected.


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