What is balanitis?

Balanitis is an inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis that typically occurs in boys and men who are uncircumcised (foreskin remains around the penis). This inflammation can be caused by infections, poor hygiene, or irritants from soaps or detergents. Symptoms of balanitis can include blisters, discharge, itching, pain, redness on the tip of the penis (glans) and foreskin (prepuce), scabbing, scar tissue, and swelling. Balanitis can be extremely uncomfortable and create difficulty with urination, sexual relations, and daily activities.

Balanitis usually occurs in boys and men who are not circumcised and still have their foreskin, the retractable covering of the penis. It is most commonly caused by poor hygiene practices. Fortunately, it can usually be prevented by thoroughly and regularly cleaning the shaft and foreskin of the penis. Boys who are not circumcised can be shown proper techniques for keeping the region clean and dry. Balanitis can also result from conditions affecting your general health, such as poorly controlled diabetes or certain skin conditions.

Treatment for balanitis depends on the underlying cause of the inflammation. Treatment may include topical creams or medications and improved hygienic practices. Rarely, surgery may be necessary.

Balanitis is not commonly associated with serious or life-threatening consequences. Seek prompt medical care if you experience symptoms of balanitis accompanied by tenderness surrounding the scrotum or testicles.


What are the symptoms of balanitis?

Common symptoms of balanitis

Some of the first signs of balanitis may be redness or ulceration on the tip of the penis underneath the foreskin. Eventually, discharge can occur and may be accompanied by blisters, itching, peeling, scabbing, scar tissue, and swelling.

Common symptoms of balanitis

Common symptoms of balanitis include:


What causes balanitis?

The most common cause of balanitis is poor hygiene. The inflammation may also be due to infection or irritation from chemical irritants such as soaps.

What are the risk factors for balanitis?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing balanitis. Not all males with risk factors will get balanitis. Risk factors for balanitis include:


How is balanitis treated?

Treatment for balanitis depends on the underlying cause of the inflammation. Treatment can include education about improved hygiene, medications, or, in rare cases, surgery.

Treatments for balanitis

Treatments for balanitis include:

Antibiotics (if the condition is caused by infection)

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Male Reproductive System