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What is Balanitis: Causes, Symptoms, & Balanitis Treatment Plans
- Balanitis refers to the inflammation of penis head (glans) caused by skin disorders, allergic reactions, bacterial infections in the penis, or yeast infections.
- Common Balanitis symptoms include pain, abnormal discharge, swelling, redness, rashes, and more.
- Balanitis infection is manageable once the underlying cause is identified. Balanitis diagnosis includes a thorough physical examination, usage of various tests, such as- a swab test of discharge, blood test, urine test, and STI tests. In some cases, a biopsy is also done to examine skin disorders.
- Once the balanitis diagnosis is done, the general surgeon will either:
-Direct you to a specialized medical expert who can treat the cause behind your penis inflammation , or
-Provide an appropriate balanitis treatment plan that caters to your bodily needs.
- However, Balanitis does not cause penile or testicular cancer, so there is nothing to worry about.
1. What is Balanitis?
Balanitis refers to the swelling or inflammation of penis head (glans) caused by skin conditions or bacterial/ yeast infections in men. Penis inflammation is quite common, affecting 1 in 25 males. On average, balanitis in children and uncircumcised men is common; however, this condition can happen at any age. While it can be painful, balanitis infection can be easily treated using appropriate balanitis treatment options suitable for your body.
There are 3 types of Balanitis infection. They include:
- Zoon’s Balanitis: This is one of the most common types of Balanitis infection, causing foreskin inflammation and pain on the penis head.
- Circinate Balanitis: This is a ring shaped inflammation of the skin of the glans that occurs due to reactive arthritis, a type of arthritis caused by an infection in another part of the body. This triggers severe joint/ muscle pain, inflammation , and soreness in the urethra.
- Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis: This rare type of balanitis infection causes scaly wart-like bruises on the head of the penis.
Common balanitis symptoms include:
- Sharp pain in the head of your penis
- Abnormal discharge
- Itchiness, rashes, and soreness in the head of your penis
- Unpleasant smell
- Swelling, and redness on the top of your penis
- Tight foreskin (Do remember that it is normal for children to have a tight foreskin)
- Painful urination (Due to the swelling on the penis tip, this can add unwanted pressure on your urethra; thus, causing painful urination.)
It’s understandable to be alarmed when you experience genital pain or penis inflammation . Try not to worry as Balanitis infection is manageable once you identify the exact cause through a diagnostic evaluation. Early detection can help cure balanitis effectively. The general surgeon will recommend appropriate balanitis treatment options based on your condition.
In any case, it is imperative to seek out proper medical care for penis inflammation or bacterial infection on penis. Consulting a general surgeon can help identify your balanitis causes. In addition to this, a regular full-body health checkup once a year can help understand the state of your health and the areas that require improvement. You can have an instant online consultation with a doctor on MFine, or you can avail of a comprehensive health check-up package or a specific condition-based health package depending on your lifestyle factors, dietary factors, age, and existing medical conditions.
2. What causes Balanitis?
As previously mentioned, Balanitis refers to the inflammation of penis head (glans) that can cause pain, swelling, and discomfort. The following are the most common balanitis causes:
- Candida Fungus Skin Infection: Balanitis infection due to Candida is one of the most common causes. Candida Albicans is a yeast (a type of fungus) that can cause an infection on your skin. While it is normal to have small amounts of candida on your skin, the problem arises when it multiplies and overgrows. Symptoms of yeast infection in men can include abnormal discharge, unpleasant odor, itchiness, and burning sensation on the head of your penis. Once diagnosed, the general surgeon will recommend appropriate candida balanitis treatment options for your condition.
- Bacterial infection on penis: The head of the penis and foreskin acts as an ideal place for bacteria to multiply as it can trap moisture. It is crucial to keep the genital area clean and dry to avoid developing a bacterial infection on penis.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): In some cases, STIs like syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and herpes can induce penis foreskin infection, causing Balanitis.
Irritation of the skin on the tip of your penis can also cause inflammation ; therefore, triggering Balanitis. Common irritants include:
- Harsh chemicals in perfumed soaps, lubricants, condoms, etc.
- Using innerwear that still have unrinsed detergents or washing powders.
As previously mentioned, it is important to clean your genitals every day to prevent moisture from getting trapped. However, avoid excessive cleaning as this can cause penis inflammation too.
3. Skin conditions
- Eczema: Eczema is a chronic, long-term condition that causes itchiness, redness, dryness, and inflammation on the skin. While it is common in children, eczema can occur at any age.
- Psoriasis: This condition causes the skin cells to rapidly multiply faster than normal. This makes the skin feel patchy, bumpy, and dry.
- Lichen Planus: This is a disorder that causes itchy, pink/ purple spots to develop on the skin over several weeks. Lichen Planus causes severe swelling and inflammation .
Balanitis can occur due to diabetes , or as a side-effect of drugs prescribed to treat diabetes . Generally, the drugs work by removing the glucose/ sugar in the body through urination. If the genitals are not cleaned properly after using the restroom, some of the urine may get trapped in the foreskin. Glucose creates an ideal place for bacteria to rapidly multiple; thus, causing balanitis infection.
This condition causes difficulty in stretching and pulling back the foreskin from around the head of the penis. Urine and sweat can accumulate under the foreskin, making it a breeding place for bacteria and yeast. Hence, triggering balanitis.
Consulting a general surgeon will help you understand the underlying Balanitis causes. They will diagnose and recommend a suitable balanitis treatment plan based on your body condition.
3. How is the Balanitis diagnosis performed?
It’s understandable to be alarmed when you experience genital pain or penis inflammation . Try not to worry as Balanitis infection is manageable once you identify the exact cause through a diagnostic evaluation. The doctor will recommend appropriate balanitis treatment options that are suitable for your bodily needs.
Firstly, the doctor will understand your Balanitis symptoms by asking questions about your clinical history. Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination to get an accurate diagnosis. If you have abnormal discharge, the doctor collects it using a cotton swab to test it for bacterial or yeast growth. This can also be done by collecting your urine sample.
The doctor will also examine the genital skin for any skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis. In some cases, the doctor may perform a biopsy by taking a small sample of tissue from your penis to examine it for skin disease.
The doctor will also recommend the following tests to gain a better understanding of your balanitis causes.
- Serum glucose test, or urine test for diabetes
- Tests to detect sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Swab test of the discharge
4. How to treat balanitis?
If you are wondering how to treat balanitis, it can be done by receiving an accurate balanitis diagnosis. Once you receive your diagnosis, the doctor will recommend balanitis treatment options accordingly.
Treatment of cause
As previously mentioned, Balanitis can be caused by skin disorders, a bacterial infection on penis, or yeast infection in men. Your balanitis treatment is based on what set off the inflammation . Once the balanitis diagnosis is done, the general surgeon will either:
- Direct you to a specialized medical expert who can treat the cause behind your penis inflammation , or
- Provide an appropriate balanitis treatment plan that caters to your bodily needs.
1. Balanitis treatment for irritation/ allergic reaction
If the inflammation of the penis head is due to an irritant or unwanted allergic reaction, the doctor will recommend discontinuing the usage of perfumed soaps, gels, and lotions that may have potential irritants. This should be practiced until all signs of the reaction are gone.
The doctor may also prescribe a mild steroid cream or antibiotics for balanitis to reduce the swelling. Remember to only use balanitis medications as directed by the doctor only.
2. Balanitis treatment for an infection
- If you were diagnosed with a yeast infection, the doctor will prescribe you antifungal medicines for balanitis to help clear it. The doctor may also ask you to abstain from sex or ask you to use a condom before engaging in sexual activity.
- If you were diagnosed with a bacterial infection on penis, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics for balanitis to help clear the swelling, itching, pain, and inflammation in the penis head.
3. Balanitis treatment for skin diseases
- If there were no irritants, yeast, or bacterial infections identified, the general surgeon may direct you to a dermatologist who specializes in identifying skin-related disorders that may have caused penis inflammation . Accordingly, a dermatologist will prescribe medicines for balanitis to stop the inflammation .
4. Treatment for recurrent balanitis/ chronic balanitis:
If you have a tight foreskin and if the inflammation persists even after other balanitis treatment options, the general surgeon may recommend circumcision. In some cases of recurrent balanitis/ chronic balanitis, a slit may be cut on top of the foreskin to separate it from the penis. The general surgeon may also recommend using a sitz bath to alleviate pain and discomfort.
It is imperative to seek balanitis treatment immediately to avoid the following health complications:
- Severe pain while retracting/ stretching the foreskin of the penis
- Ulcerative lesions on the head of the penis
- Constricting phimosis that can lead to difficulty in urination
Early detection can help cure balanitis effectively.
Consulting a doctor for Balanitis treatment
Balanitis infection or inflammation of penis head can be effectively managed and treated. The correct diagnosis is the key to receiving appropriate Balanitis treatment. A general surgeon can best diagnose recurrent balanitis and suggest the way forward based on the severity of your condition alongside your body type, dietary factors, and other lifestyle factors. If you face severe balanitis symptoms, you must see a general surgeon right away. At MFine, we enable the patients to live a healthier life with modern medical services.
We ensure that the best balanitis treatment programs are made available to our patients for every stage of the condition. Get in touch with our team of highly-qualified doctors and healthcare professionals for any medical advice or assistance. We, at MFine, provide you with a holistic healthcare treatment program as per your bodily needs and requirements. You can also check our MFine app for a list of the best general surgeons in your city with whom you can chat or video call to get answers for your medical queries!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is balanitis contagious?
If balanitis occurs due to an allergic reaction, chemicals, or irritants, then it is deemed to be non-contagious. However, if balanitis occurs due to an infection (STIs, a fungal or bacterial infection on penis), then the organisms causing balanitis can transfer from one person to another. In these cases, balanitis can be considered contagious. However, it would be best to avoid sexual contact when you experience balanitis symptoms until a proper diagnostic evaluation has been made. Do get an accurate balanitis diagnosis from a general surgeon to gain a better understanding of your underlying causes.
How to treat yeast infection in men?
Generally, yeast infections in men can be treated using antifungal drugs or antifungal creams. If the yeast infection is complex, longer-term treatments may be required. However, it is crucial to get a doctor’s prescription before starting your dosage.
How can I prevent balanitis?
With proper hygiene, you can prevent balanitis from recurring in the future. While there are no balanitis home treatments or simple home remedies for balanitis, you can incorporate the following tips in your daily routine to prevent complications:
-Avoid using scented soaps, shower gels, and creams that could potentially irritate your skin. Discuss with your dermatologist about the products that you can use.
-Clean your penis every day with lukewarm water. Do remember to gently pull back the foreskin and clean underneath as well.
-Ensure the area is completely dry before putting on your clothes.
How do I book an appointment with a general surgeon online?
To schedule an instant appointment, download the MFine app, search for a general surgeon online, and fill out your details. You can then get in touch with a top general surgeon online from the comfort of your home. You can discuss your health concerns comfortably as MFine takes your privacy very seriously. With a safe and secure platform, we ensure that the discussions between you and your doctor strictly remain confidential.
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