What is Balanitis

Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans caused by infection, wound or external stimulation. It is a common condition that can happen to both circumcised and uncircumcised men. As the warm and moist environment under the foreskin favours bacterial growth, uncircumcised men and those with redundant foreskin have a relatively higher risk for balanitis.

Causes & Symptoms

What are the causes?

There are several causes that could lead to Balanitis:

  • Poor personal hygiene resulting in infections with bacteria, fungus or other pathogens, as urine and smegma are easily trapped under the foreskin.
  • Redundant foreskin restricts patient from cleaning penis thoroughly, thus triggering bacterial growth.
  • Irritation caused by chemical products, like shower gel, laundry detergent and condom.
  • Skin conditions such as lichen planus, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, could also lead to balanitis.
  • Men diagnosed with specific diseases (e.g. diabetes) have a relatively higher risk of balanitis.

 

What are the symptoms?

The major symptoms include redness and rash on foreskin and head of penis, inflammation, itchiness and soreness in the affected area, and smelly abnormal discharge.

Consequences
  • Sexual dysfunction

If balanitis is untreated, the lasting inflammation can damage patient’s sexual health. It may lead to premature ejaculation and even erectile dysfunction.

  • Urinary system disorders

Balanitis may cause ascending infection of the urinary system, such as cystitis, nephritis, etc. For patients with chronic balanitis problems, urinary tract diseases may also develop. For acute-onset, it may endanger one’s life if not treated properly.

Treatment

Treatment for balanitis varies according to the specific cause of inflammation. When any abnormality or symptom is observed, doctor’s professional opinion must be sought at once in order to obtain the best-suited treatment. Some common treatment methods for balanitis include:

  • For balanitis caused by bacterial or fungal infections, oral antibiotics or topical antimicrobial cream may be used.
  • For balanitis caused by chemical products, ointment may be prescribed to ease skin irritation.
  • For uncircumcised men with redundant foreskin or foreskin that is difficult to retract and clean, circumcision may be considered.