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Alternative Names Return to topBalanoposthitis
Definition Return to top
Balanitis is an inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis.
Causes Return to top
Balanitis is usually caused by poor hygiene in uncircumcised men. The inflammation can be due to infection, harsh soaps, or failure to properly rinse soap off while bathing. Several other diseases, including reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis et atrophicus, can lead to balanitis. Men with uncontrolled diabetes are at risk of developing balanitis.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
Your dermatologist or urologist may be able to diagnosis the cause of your balanitis by examination alone. However, additional skin tests for viruses, fungi, or bacteria are often needed. Occasionally, a skin biopsy is required.
Treatment Return to top
Treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. For example, infectious balanitis may be treated with antibiotic pills or creams. Balanitis occurring with skin diseases may respond to steroid creams. In severe cases, circumcision may be the best option.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most cases of balanitis can be controlled with medicated creams and good hygiene. Surgery is not usually necessary. Outcomes are nearly always positive.
Possible Complications Return to top
Chronic inflammation or infection can:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Notify your health care provider if you are experiencing any signs of balanitis including swelling of the foreskin or pain.
Prevention Return to top
Good hygiene can prevent most cases of balanitis. During bathing, the foreskin should be retracted to adequately clean and dry the area beneath it.
References Return to top
Ferri FF. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2007: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2007.
Wein AJ. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007.Update Date: 7/23/2007 Updated by: Marc Greenstein, DO, Urologist, North Jersey Center for Urologic Care, Denville, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.