Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans penis (the end of the penis). In many cases of balanitis, the foreskin can also be affected. The condition is very common, and can affect adolescents and adults alike. It has been noted that the condition is far more likely to occur in uncircumcised males, than those who have already been circumcised. It is in fact very rare for a circumcised adult to present with symptoms of balanitis. Balanitis can occur at any age, and isn’t usually considered to be a serious condition.
What Causes Balanitis?
There are many conditions that may cause, or increase, the likelihood of contracting balanitis. Eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, are all considered to be related to either the cause or severity of the condition.
The leading cause of balanitis in males, who do not present the aforementioned conditions, or any other underlying penile disorders (such as phimosis), is poor hygiene.
Many sexually transmitted infections, such as; herpes, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, are also thought to cause balanitis. Practising safe sex will ensure that you aren’t at risk from contracting these infections, or balanitis, during sexual intercourse.
What Are The Symptoms of Balanitis?
Common symptoms of balanitis may include;
- A thick discharge from beneath the foreskin
- Swelling of the penis
- Redness of the penis
- Redness of the foreskin
- Soreness of the foreskin
- Mild to moderate pain of the penis and foreskin
- A bad smell emanating from the penis
More often than not, balanitis can be easily treated with a combination of creams; ointments and good hygiene. Potassium permanganate solution is thought to be highly effective when used to wash the penis, and will likely be one of the first treatments offered to a patient presenting with symptoms of balanitis.
However, In some rare cases, balanitis may reoccur time-after-time in the patient. In these very rare cases, circumcision may be recommended as a treatment for balanitis. This will almost always be recommended as a possible form of treatment for men with underlying penile complaints, such as phimosis, or men who already have trouble urinating.
I Think I’ve Got Balanitis, What Should I Do?
If you’re diagnosed with balanitis, regardless of the cause, you should take care to avoid anything that will further exacerbate your condition. Avoid shower gel and soap at all times during your recovery phase, or when inflammation is present. A good replacement for soap would be to use a mild moisturiser, baby oil, or hand cream to clean the penis.
Wash your penis in lukewarm water, and dry gently with a soft towel. This wil guarantee that you’re are giving yourself the best possible chance of a full and speedy recovery.
Balanitis can be a painful and embarrassing condition, but with the right advice and application, there’s no reason for you to suffer in silence. If you suspect that you may have contracted balanitis, be sure to visit your nearest health professional, as soon as possible. They’ll be more than happy, and well placed, to diagnose and steer you in the best possible direction for treatment.