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What is Balanitis?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans penis, also known as the head, which can additionally involve the foreskin in balanoposthitis. There are a number of causes for balanitis, ranging from infection with Candida albicans to irritation caused by laundry soaps. This condition can be diagnosed by a dermatologist or general practitioner with a quick examination of the involved area, although to recommend the best treatment, the doctor will usually need to take a small biopsy sample for examination to determine what is causing the inflammation.

Patients with this condition develop redness and swelling, and may experience foul smelling discharges or pain. In cases of severe swelling, it may become impossible to retract the foreskin. The most common risk factor for developing balanitis is poor hygiene, especially in uncircumcised men, although some studies suggest that washing too much can also lead to inflammation. Men with diabetes are also at increased risk of developing this condition, along with other types of dermatological infections and inflammations.

If the balanitis is caused by a bacterial or fungal colonization, a doctor can provide drugs, usually in the form of a topical cream, to treat the condition. In cases where balanitis is caused by environmental exposure to irritating soaps or rough fabrics, a recommendation to change soaps or use different underpants may be recommended. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be offered to bring down the pain and swelling.

For an uncircumcised man with a severe case of balanitis, or a case of balanitis which keeps returning, a doctor may recommend circumcision to remove the foreskin. This will ease the pain and swelling during an ongoing inflammation, and reduce the risk of developing an inflammation in the future. Adult men are often understandably anxious about the thought of undergoing circumcision, and they may want to seek a second opinion from another medical provider to confirm that this procedure is a good option.

Men can greatly reduce their risks of developing balanitis by observing proper hygiene, taking care to fully wash the glans penis, retracting the foreskin in the case of uncircumcised men, on a regular basis. Balanitis can also develop in infants and boys, making it important for parents to clean properly during diaper changes, and to teach young boys proper hygiene as they develop independence. Young boys and adult males alike should always seek medical attention for inflammation around the glans penis, as it may be a sign of an underlying medical problem which needs to be addressed.

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lightninguy
Post 3

Proper hygiene is incredibly important in fighting balanitis, as indicated above. Washing the penis and foreskin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser is key; a man should also regularly apply a top drawer penis nutrient cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) as well. The best creams will have dermatologically enhancing ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E, as well as a powerful antioxidant like alpha lipoic acid that can help prevent premature penis skin cell aging.

Monika
Post 2

@starrynight - I think most men would probably be really embarrassed about getting a yeast infection, so I think this is probably why we don't hear about this more!

That said, I think balanitis is yet another argument for circumcision. Since it occurs more frequently in uncircumcised men, why take the chance? I think there are actually a few more illnesses that occur more often in men who aren't circumcised too.

starrynight
Post 1

I'm not sure if everyone is aware, but candida albicans is the same microorganism that causes yeast infections in women. And you can actually give it to your partner if you have intercourse while you have a yeast infection!

The best course of action is the avoid intercourse while you have a yeast infection. And in fact, some doctors recommend treating the male partner as a precautionary measure if a woman gets a yeast infection. I had no idea candida could have such severe symptoms in men, so I think this is probably a smart idea.

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