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Balanitis: Diagnosis, Treatment


Risk factors

How is Balanitis diagnosed?
You may initially feel embarrassed about visiting your doctor with the symptoms of balanitis, but it's important that you do because the symptoms could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition and you or your child may need prescription-only medication.
Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose balanitis based on asking the patient questions (history) and physical examination.
Further testing is usually only needed if the symptoms are particularly severe or do not clear with treatment. This usually involves taking a small sample of cells from the head of the penis (a swab) and testing them for infection.
Occasionally, your doctor may arrange blood and urine tests to measure your blood sugar levels. This is to check whether you have developed diabetes, which may be making you more vulnerable to infection.
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a specialist such as a dermatologist (skin specialist) or urologist.

What is the treatment for Balanitis?
Discontinue the use of all perfumed soaps, lotions, or powders, as they are often are a cause of foreskin irritation. Use only warm water for cleansing.
If it is a hygiene issue, daily habits are changed. Young boys may require instruction on how to retract and clean their foreskin.

Medication
After a diagnosis, your doctor will likely prescribe a medicated anti-itch cream. This cream helps stop itching and inflammation.
If you have an infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication to help clear it. This may be all you need to stop the inflammation, swelling, itching, and discharge.
Your doctor may also prescribe medicated creams with steroids to reduce inflammation.

Over-the-counter treatment
You can try treating balanitis yourself with a mixture of diluted vinegar and Burow’s solution applied to the area with a compress. This mixture acts as an astringent. Astringents cause the skin to contract, which helps relieve irritation.
Your balanitis may be caused by a fungus (a type of yeast infection). In this case, you can use an antifungal cream that contains nystatin, clotrimazole, or terbinafine.
Topical steroids that contain hydrocortisone can also be helpful.
If you’re trying over-the-counter treatments, do not use them longer than two weeks. If you are not improving, see your doctor for evaluation. It’s important to make sure you do not have a more serious health problem.

Further treatment
The treatments listed above should start working within seven days. Contact your doctor if your symptoms do not start improving by this time because you may require alternative treatment and you may need to see a specialist.

In rare cases, if you have phimosis (a tight foreskin) and you have repeat episodes of balanitis, you may be advised to have a partial circumcision.




Medicines & Drugs (A-Z)