Balanitis (inflammation of the penis)

Pelvis | Urology | Balanitis (inflammation of the penis) (Disease)


Balanitis is swelling (inflammation) of the foreskin and head of the penis. In the uncircumcised male, balanitis and posthitis generally occur together as balanoposthitis: inflammation of both the glans and foreskin.

Symptoms usually begin to appear after 3 days and can include: redness of foreskin or penis, other rashes on the head of the penis, foul-smelling discharge and painful penis and foreskin. Recurrent bouts of balanitis may cause scarring of the preputial orifice; the reduced elasticity may lead to pathologic phimosis.

Causes and Risk factors

Causes include infection or chemical irritation by contraceptive creams or laundry products. Balanitis is usually caused by poor hygiene in uncircumcised men. Other possible causes include: diseases such as reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis and atrophicus; infection; harsh soaps; not rinsing soap off properly while bathing; uncontrolled diabetes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Tests may include examination, tests for viruses, bacteria or fungi and sometimes, a skin biopsy is necessary.

Treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. For example, balanitis that is caused by bacteria may be treated with antibiotic pills or creams. Balanitis that occurs with skin diseases may respond to steroid creams. In severe cases, circumcision may be the best option. If you cannot pull back (retract) the foreskin to clean it, you may need to be circumcised. ...

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