What is Balanitis?
Other names: Balanoposthitis
Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis. The foreskin is also often affected. Balanitis is a common condition affecting both boys and men. It occurs more often in men who have not been circumcised.
What are the causes of Balanitis?
Balanitis is inflammation typically caused by infections or chronic skin conditions. Improper hygiene can contribute to skin irritation. Both inadequate cleansing and too much cleansing can add to this problem. The condition is often caused by an overgrowth of either bacteria or yeast. The foreskin of the penis is an ideal place for these organisms to grow because it can trap moisture around the penis head.
Other causes of balanitis include:
- Irritation caused by urine or substances such as soaps and shower gels (contact dermatitis)
- Thrush, which is more common in people with diabetes or who have recently taken antibiotics
- A bacterial infection, usually caused by streptococcal bacteria
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhoea, genital herpes and syphilis
- Skin conditions, such as atopic eczema, psoriasis, lichen sclerosus and lichen planus
- In boys, repeatedly playing with their foreskin
In some cases, no cause can be found.
What are the symptoms of Balanitis?
Swelling and redness of the foreskin may indicate balanitis. Other symptoms may include:
- Tightened foreskin
- Itchy genitals
- Pain in the genital area
- Painful skin on the penis
- Swelling of your penis tip can put pressure on your urethra. This can cause painful urination.