Balanitis – What it is, Causes and Treatments. In addition, Balanitis is a skin disease that affects the glans of the penis causing swelling, redness and discomfort. The inflammation can spread to the shaft of the penis and affect the foreskin.
Balanitis can be acute (usually passes quickly) or chronic (lasts longer than a few weeks). When you describe a disease, the terms “acute” and “chronic” refer to how long the person has suffered from that disease, not the level of severity of the disease.
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- Doctor, urologist, andrologist
- It is also possible to suffer from balanitis that keeps coming back after treatment.
- This is called recurrent balanitis .
- Balanitis does not cause impotence (erectile dysfunction) because it does not affect blood circulation.
- This disease affects children and adults.
- Rarely, people with balanitis develop prostatitis.
Symptoms of Balanitis:
The foreskin is a flap of skin that covers the penis , and circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin. Parents decide whether or not to have their baby circumcised. Circumcision is usually performed shortly after birth, at the request of the parents. Symptoms can affect both the head of the penis (glans) of circumcised and uncircumcised men.
Balanoposthitis is the technical term for inflammation involving both the glans and foreskin, but common usage of the term balanitis encompasses inflammation of the glans and foreskin. There are several general symptoms that are associated with most types of this condition. The symptoms apply to both the inflammation of the foreskin and the glans of the penis :
- Discharge (may be thick, white, and foul-smelling)
- rashes or ulcers
- Pain when urinating
While the condition itself is not usually serious, it could be a sign of an infection, so you should see a doctor if you experience these symptoms. In some cases, inflammation can cause the foreskin to tighten so it doesn’t retract, a condition called phimosis . Early treatment can prevent this complication.
If your child has symptoms of balanitis , see a doctor so that their condition can be evaluated and treated, if indicated. Your child may also need instructions on how to keep the head of the penis clean.
If your problem is caused by a yeast infection, you will be advised to use an anti-fungal cream. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) is a very effective over-the-counter medication that is also used to treat vaginal yeast infections and athlete’s foot. Apply it to the affected area two to three times a day for 10 days.
The doctor may also recommend and prescribe an antifungal treatment, either in cream or pill form. If you have a bacterial skin infection, you should use an antibiotic cream and be sure to clean the area thoroughly. Occasionally, antibiotic pills may be necessary.
When the skin becomes inflamed but not infected, you will be advised to keep the area clean and dry, and to avoid any soaps or skin lotions that could aggravate the condition. Sometimes a cortisone cream can help improve the problem more quickly. However, cortisone can make certain infections worse , so it is best to avoid this type of medication unless prescribed by a doctor.
Circumcision often prevents repeated infections. Once effective treatment begins, you will generally not need to avoid sexual intercourse, although sexual contact can irritate or inflame the affected area. Rarely, sexual contact can pass an infection between partners. If this occurs, both partners may need treatment at the same time to prevent future episodes.
Men who are circumcised should practice good hygiene, including fully retracting the foreskin while bathing. People with diabetes can help prevent the problem by carefully controlling their blood sugar.