Balanitis – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Balanitis – What it is, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments  that we should not ignore. Furthermore, Balanitis  is an infection that affects the male genital organ, caused by the action of an infectious fungus, Candida  albicans. Although this fungus is generally more pathogenic for women, as it causes an irritating vaginal mycosis subject to relapses, we must not forget that even the male penis is a delicate organ, subject to diseases and intimate infections. Candida albicans is not necessarily a harmful germ, on the contrary, if the human body is in perfect health and balance, it cohabits in our mucous membranes (intimate, but also those of the mouth), in the condition of commensals, without, therefore, causing inflammatory symptoms. .

Causes of Balanitis:  Balanitis can  be caused by:

  • Poor hygiene, leading to an accumulation of smegma
  • Irritation under the foreskin caused by peeing
  • Soaps, shower gels and other skin irritants
  • Thrush
  • a bacterial infection
  • A sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and lichen sclerosus
  • Children playing with their foreskin

Symptoms of Balanitis:  Balanitis affects  the head of the penis and the foreskin. This occurs much more often in men and boys who have not been circumcised. Symptoms include:

  • A painful and stinging penis
  • redness and swelling
  • Thick fluid accumulation
  • Pain when peeing

Some adults may also have a tight foreskin that won’t come back. This is a condition called phimosis. You should see your GP if you think you have balanitis  just to make sure it’s not a sign of something more serious like a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Diagnosis of Balanitis:  Your GP should be able to tell if you have Balanitis  by looking at your penis and asking a few questions. If the treatment doesn’t start working within seven days, your GP may suggest some tests to see if there is an infection or something more serious. If your GP is not sure what is causing your balanitis , they may refer you to:

  • A skin specialist called a dermatologist
  • A urologist, who treats penile problems
  • A sexual health clinic

Balanitis Treatments:  Most cases of balanitis  are easily treated with good hygiene and creams and ointments recommended by your GP.

Hygiene:  If you have Balanitis , you should clean your penis daily with warm water and dry it gently.

  • Do not use soap, bubble bath, shampoo or any other potential irritant.
  • Gently dry under the foreskin after peeing .
  • Try a soap substitute like an emollient, available at a drugstore.

Cleaning a Child’s Penis:  Do not remove your foreskin to clean underneath if it is still being repaired. If the child is still in diapers, change them frequently. Do not use baby wipes to clean your penis.

Creams and Ointments:  Depending on what is causing your balanitis , your GP may recommend creams or ointments, such as:

  • Steroid cream or ointment for simple skin irritation
  • Antifungal cream or pills for a yeast infection
  • Antibiotics for a bacterial infection

See your GP if treatment doesn’t start working within seven days. You may need further treatment or be advised to see a specialist. Circumcision may be advised in rare cases where a child continues to receive it.

Sex and Balanitis:  You can have sex during treatment if your balanitis is not caused by an infection. But if it is caused by an infection, such as an STI or the flu, there is a risk of passing it on.

Balanitis Prevention:  You can reduce your chances of getting Balanitis by:

  • Keeping your penis clean
  • Avoiding harsh soaps and other skin irritants
  • Using soap substitutes, as an emollient
  • Practicing Safe Sex to Avoid an STI
  • Using latex-free condoms if you have a latex allergy
Useful links: 

Young people may still not be able to clean under their foreskin because it may not pull back completely yet. Do not attempt to pull back a child’s foreskin to clean under it if it is still attached, as this can cause damage.

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