Balanitis is the medical term for inflammation of the glans or end of the penis. It is caused by a variety of medical conditions including candidiasis, some skin conditions, a variety of sexually transmitted infections, and some bacterial infections. Balanitis usually subsides after medical intervention.
More About Balanitis
The glans of a penis affected by balanitis become red, sore, and itchy. The condition may affect just a small area of the penis or the entire glans. While balanitis technically concerns only the glans, often the foreskin also becomes inflamed at the same time. Thick, clumpy discharge may also ooze from the penis. Men with balanitis may notice it’s virtually impossible to pull back their foreskin. Urination may also become painful.
Balanitis is a very common condition, especially among boys under the age of four and uncircumsized men. However, it can impact males of any age, including circumsized males. A number of factors can cause balanitis. For example, incorrect cleaning can cause smegma to build up underneath the foreskin, triggering the inflammation. The germs that naturally live on the skin’s surface may breed rapidly and cause an infection. Sexually transmitted infections like genital herpes, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia can also cause balanitis, usually in conjunction with urethritis. Irritants like condoms, lubricants, washing powders, and other chemicals can also inflame the glans.
If you notice your glans inflamed, you should seek medical attention. A doctor can usually determine the cause during a consultation and start you on a treatment program. Alternatively, the doctor may take a sample, refer you to a skin specialist or genitourinary medicine clinic. This often involves anti-yeast creams or tablets, antibiotics, or mild steroid creams. In addition, bathing with lukewarm water, soaking in a salt bath, and using moisturizing cream or ointment rather than soap for cleaning are helpful. If the inflammation persists, a biopsy may be required to uncover the balanitis’ cause.
Careful but thorough daily cleaning of the penis, including underneath the foreskin, the use of non-perfumed soaps and lotions, thorough drying of the penis before wearing underwear, and using condoms meant for sensitive skin with every new partner can all help prevent balanitis from recurring.