What is Balanitis: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment

Definition: Balanitis is a condition of the penis marked by inflammation (swelling, redness, pain), and changes in the skin of the foreskin and the head of the penis.

The risk of this disease is higher in uncircumcised men compared to circumcised men.

There are a number of causes that can lead to balanitis, including infection, trauma, irritation from environmental substances and lack of hygiene.

In general, the pharmacological treatment for the underlying infection is sufficient, but in some cases, where the lack of hygiene is due to the inability to retract the foreskin, circumcision is recommended.

Symptoms of balanitis include:

  • Red and swollen glans penis and foreskin.
  • Pain in the head of the penis and foreskin.
  • Secretion of the penis with odor.
  • Eruptions in the area of ​​the head and the part adjacent to the penis.
  • Difficulty in urination.

Sometimes the cases of balanitis can occur due to carelessness:

Due to scarring and narrowing of the orifice of the penis , due to the repeated attacks of balanitis (stenosis of the meatus).

Difficulty in the rear traction (retraction) of the prepuce on the tip of the penis due to the small opening (phimosis) that leads to difficulty in urination and recurrent infection.

Due to recurrent episodes of balanitis, the foreskin can be trapped behind the head of the penis (paraphimosis) which leads to decreased blood supply at the tip of the penis.

Causes of Balanitis

Male genital anatomy, causes of balanitis include:

Lack of penile hygiene: do not wash the penis after retraction (throw it back). Uncircumcised men are more prone to balanitis although circumcised men may also suffer from balanitis.

The excessive use of soap during washing, accompanied by little water to rinse properly can also cause irritation and lead to this condition.

The irritation of the skin of the penis by the use of chemicals present in condoms, spermicidal gel, soaps, detergents (due to improper washing of clothing) and certain tissues.

Bacterial infection: (the warm, moist environment under the foreskin serves as an ideal area for bacterial growth).

Viral infection: Even by fungi (usually the female partner who suffers from vaginal candidiasis), the infection can cause balanitis and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can also predispose the person.

Other causes of balanitis:

  • Diabetes mellitus poorly controlled (sugar diabetes).
  • Physical injuries on the penis.
  • Some diseases of the skin such as eczema, psoriasis (dry and scaly skin disease) and lichen planus (purple itching).
  • Unknown causes: balanitis de zoon, is a rare disease of the skin of the foreskin due to unknown causes, which is usually treated with circumcision.

Risk factor’s

  • The lack of penile hygiene.
  • The excessive use of soap.
  • The uncircumcised penis.
  • Diabetes mellitus.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases.

Treatment for Balanitis

The causes of balanitis determine the mode of treatment and although it can be an embarrassing condition, it should not be ignored, as it can lead to serious complications and permanent damage to the penis.

Fungal, bacterial and viral infections require treatment with the appropriate antibiotic, such as antifungals and antiviral drugs.

In the most severe cases, when maintenance of good hygiene is not possible due to the inability to retract (retrace) the foreskin beyond the tip of the penis (phimosis), circumcision is necessary.

Anti-inflammatory medications are useful to reduce swelling and pain, but only offer symptomatic relief.