Inflammation of the glans and foreskin of the penis or balanitis.


Balanitis is an inflammation that affects the glans penis (glans penis). When the foreskin (foreskin) is affected, it is called balanoposthitis. Balanitis and balanoposthitis occur mainly in uncircumcised men .

Balanitis is most common in men over the age of 40, although it can affect men of any age. Balanitis is a condition that affects approximately 11% of adult men and 4% of children. Balanitis is usually characterized by the appearance of a bright red or reddish-orange area. … But it can also appear as a spotted macula .

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Symptoms of balanitis

Occurring only in uncircumcised men, balanitis can cause the following symptoms:

  • Redness of the glans penis
  • Swelling and pain of the glans penis.
  • Unpleasant-smelling discharge from the penis (smegma)
  • Impotence
  • Pain when urinating
  • Bad smell
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Inability to retract the foreskin (phimosis)
  • Inability to return the foreskin to the glans penis (paraphimosis )


The exact causes of balanitis are not known for sure. Poor hygiene can lead to the accumulation of smegma (accumulation of dead cells and oils on the genitals), which reduces aeration and irritates the scalp of the penis, eventually causing inflammation and swelling.

Possible causes of balanitis:

  • Poor hygiene in an uncircumcised man (most common cause)
  • Diabetes (a common cause of balanitis)
  • Excessive washing
  • Friction
  • Response to infection
  • Lubricants and spermicides in condoms
  • Scented soaps or shower gels
  • Detergents and fabric softeners
  • Inadequate rinsing of soap when bathing
  • Use of antibiotics
  • Allergic reactions to certain medications or allergens such as latex.
  • Penile cancer (a rare cause of balanitis)


Infections , whether viral, bacterial, or fungal, can lead to the development of balanitis. A common yeast infection that can cause balanitis is Candida , which also causes thrush . Other viruses and organisms that can cause balanitis include human papillomavirus (HPV), streptococci, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.


Several studies have raised questions about a possible link between HPV and chronic balanitis and balanoposthitis, although HPV has not been definitively proven to be the cause and more research is needed.

Watch out

If you experience the signs and symptoms of balanitis, you should seek medical attention. It is important to practice good hygiene and avoid irritants.

Depending on the possible causes of balanitis, such as a bacterial or fungal infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotic pills or creams or an antifungal cream. For other skin conditions, your doctor may prescribe a steroid cream.

In most cases, balanitis and balanoposthitis can be controlled with medication. In rare and serious cases, such as phimosis or paraphimosis, circumcision may be recommended. In rare cases where balanitis does not respond to treatment, a biopsy may be considered.


Although rare, the most common serious complication of balanitis is phimosis (the inability to separate the foreskin from the glans) or paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to cover the glans). Other rare complications that can develop with balanitis and balanoposthitis include:

  • Cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin.
  • Hidden penis syndrome, a condition in which the penis is located under the folds of the skin (usually associated with obesity).
  • Meatus stenosis, an abnormal narrowing of the opening at the tip of the penis.
  • Xerotic obliterating balanitis, chronic dermatitis of the glans and foreskin
  • Scars
  • Decreased blood flow to the glans penis.
  • Increased risk of penile cancer.
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