Balanitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Have you ever heard of balanitis? It’s an infection of the skin around the genitals. It can be unpleasant and painful.
In this article, we’ll talk more about what balanitis is, what causes it, and what it looks like. We’ll also give you some suggestions for treating it.
What Is Balanitis?
The Wake Forest School of Medicine defines balanitis as “inflammation of the head of the penis [or] glans penis.”
Beaumont goes into more detail by explaining how balanitis is one of many types of penile conditions. Balanitis is usually grouped in with other conditions such as epispadias, hypospadias, penile cancer, Peyronie’s disease, phimosis and paraphimosis, and priapism.
According to Beaumont, what makes balanitis unique is the specific inflammation that occurs to the head of the penis and the foreskin. This type of inflammation is called balanposthitis. Balanitis can cause a variety of other symptoms, which we go over later, that include penile pain, swelling, and itching.
Causes Of Balanitis
Balanitis can be caused by multiple conditions but they all share one thing in common, hygiene. MedlinePlus, a property of the US National Library of Medicine, outlines some of the different causes for balanitis.
In the aforementioned article from Beaumont, they say that the most common cause of balanitis is poor hygiene in men who are uncircumcised. What happens, according to them, os that bacteria, sweat, dead skin cells, and other kinds of debris gather underneath the foreskin and lead to eventual inflammation.Although this happens naturally, this excess biological material is usually cleaned out when one showers. If the patient does not properly clean himself, he will not be able to get rid of all of the excess debris which increases the chances of infection over time.
Other possible diseases that can cause balanitis include conditions like dermatitis, yeast infections, or sexually transmitted infections. Anything that makes it more difficult to clean the penis or causes buildup to collect around the penis faster can increase one’s chances of developing balanitis.
If you think you’re more at risk to develop balanitis than others, you’ll want to look out for its symptoms. If you’ve ever notice noticing that you’re developing symptoms similar to those of balanitis, contact your doctor to get an official, medical diagnosis.
Symptoms Of Balanitis
Harvard Health Publishing, a publication that comes out of Harvard’s Medical School, says that the symptoms of balanitis are pretty easy to spot.
Symptoms of balanitis include:
- Redness of the penis
- Inflammation around the penis
- Rash on the genitals
- Itching and burning
- White, clumpy or yellowish discharge
These symptoms will most likely develop on the penis but also underneath the foreskin.
Since many of these symptoms can be pretty intimidating, especially considering their location, you’ll want to set up an appointment with a medical doctor or a dermatologist to get diagnosed. Harvard Health Publishing says that your doctor should be able to recognize balanitis immediately, However, your doctor may want to swap or scrape the skin around the penis and examine it under a microscope to make sure that their diagnosis is correct.
From there, your doctor will prescribe a specific treatment regimen he or she will want you to follow. If your symptoms do not seem to be improving, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a specialist or a dermatologist who can test you for other, less common conditions that present similarly to balanitis.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions exactly as most treatments are designed to work as instructed. Veering from your doctor’s instructions might disrupt the healing process and make treatment more difficult for everyone involved.
Balanitis Treatment Options
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI,) a property of the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, says that there are multiple purposes to treat balanitis.
Reasons to treat balanitis include:
- Minimizing sexual dysfunction
- Minimizing urinary dysfunction
- Excluding penile cancer
- Treating pre-alignment disease
- Diagnosing and treating transmitted diseases
Balanitis is related to all of these different issues. This is why it’s so important to treat balanitis. Sometimes the condition is simply due to a lack of proper hygiene, but sometimes it can act as a warning sign of something more dangerous such as penile cancer.
Your doctor will know how to best handle your case and get to the bottom of what’s causing your balanitis.
In another article from Beaumont, they outlined some possible balanitis treatment options available to patients.
Balanitis treatment options include:
- Intracavernous injections
- Clostridium hitolyticum
- Steroid creams
Your doctor will be able to help you figure out which specific treatment is best for you and your case. Just follow his or her treatment regimen and schedule a follow-up appointment after an appropriate amount of time.
Aside from your doctor’s instructions, there are some basic steps you can take to make things a bit more tolerable, as you weight for the medication to take effect. Most of these suggestions consist of basic skin care tips.
Supplementary at-home care includes things like:
- Avoiding long baths and showers
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothing
- Staying hydrated
- Using a moisturizing ointment
- Avoiding harsh soaps
- Avoiding perfume scented bath products
As your doctor for more ideas of how to make life more comfortable as you wait for your treatment to start taking effect. He or she will certainly have suggestions that will make your situation easier to handle.
You Can Manage Your Balanitis
Hopefully, now you feel more empowered to recognize and treat the symptoms of balanitis. If you’re worried that you are a more susceptible candidate to balanitis than others, make sure to take preventative measures. Avoid perfumed bath products and wash and rinse you penis and foreskin thoroughly.
Although it is possible to develop balanitis, even when you make a concerted effort to implement good hygiene practices, it’s highly unlikely. Just take care of your whole body and practice good hygiene. But should you ever develop balanitis, just know that, although it’s painful and unsightly, it is treatable. Schedule an appointment with either your doctor or a dermatologist and he or she will help get you on the right track for treatment.
Just remember, you don’t have to live with balanitis.