what is balanitis

Imagine the pain and discomfort one has to face if there is an inflammation in the glans penis. Yes, it is actually very painful and the condition is called balanitis. It can occur to a man of any age group. Males who are not circumcised are more prone to balanitis. According to studies, middle-aged men are more prone to balanitis in comparison to teens and young adults. (Also Read: Circumcised or Uncircumcised? How does it feel to a woman? )

Usually, fungal infection (candida) is a common skin condition that gives rise to balanitis. Other conditions such as bacterial or viral infection can also cause balanitis. Although balanitis is not contagious it is definitely a serious medical condition. It is treatable, so you won’t have to deal with it for a lifetime. All you need to do is seek medical help as soon as you notice the symptoms of balanitis. 

What are the common signs and symptoms of balanitis?

The common signs and symptoms of balanitis include:

  • Glans penis starts turning reddish
  • Inflammation of the head of the penis (glans penis)
  • Irritation or itching around the glans penis
  • A foul smell along with the thick discharge from under the foreskin
  • Pain and discomfort while urinating
  • Swelling and soreness around the penis
  • The skin of the glans becomes tight 

symptoms of balanitis

In a severe case of balanitis, the person may also notice the following symptoms:

  • Glans penis becomes too tender
  • Difficulty in controlling the stream of urine
  • Fever and nausea
  • Impotency

What are the causes of Balanitis?

You should also be aware of the causes that lead to balanitis. Being aware of the causes can help you in dealing better with balanitis.

Major causes of Balanitis are:

  1. Bacterial infection- Harmful bacteria tend to grow or multiply under the foreskin. This unwanted bacterial growth results in the inflammation of the glans penis.
  2. Skin problems- There are a few skin conditions that can cause balanitis. Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, lichen planus, etc are the skin conditions that often affect the penis. Such skin infections make the skin of the glans penis patchy, reddened, cracked, or even scaly. In rare and severe cases of balanitis, it can lead to skin cancer.
  3. Phimosis-  Phimosis is the condition where the foreskin of the penis is too tight to retract. Dirt and bacteria tend to collect under the tight foreskin and ultimately result in swelling and inflammation. This swelling and inflammation of the head of the penis cause balanitis along with phimosis.
  4. Diabetes- Diabetes is a major risk factor for balanitis. The high levels of sugar in the blood increase the glucose in urine as well. So, there are high chances that the bacteria grow rapidly if glucose remains on the foreskin. Therefore, you should take extra care of the penis if you are diabetic.
  5. Unprotected sex- Having unprotected sex increases the chances of infections that can cause balanitis.
  6. Chemicals that irritate the skin of the penis- Using harsh or scented soaps and shower gels cause irritation and itching to the skin of the penis. If you need to, use only mild soap to wash the genital area.

You need to get in touch with a specialist doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Only through proper diagnosis, the doctor can determine the actual reason for balanitis in your case.

Complications that can arise if you leave balanitis unattended

Let’s take a quick look at the complications you might have to face if you do not treat balanitis

  • Opening of the penis can get disfigured
  • Intense pain while retracting the foreskin
  • Insufficient supply of blood to the penis

To avoid these complications, you should receive timely treatment for balanitis and let go of any hesitation while discussing your problem with the doctor. Doing so will only help you in getting rid of balanitis once and for all.  

Diagnosis and Treatment for balanitis

Diagnosis

The doctor physically examines the penis to check for the severity of balanitis. The doctor may also suggest for some tests to determine the cause and seriousness of balanitis.


So, you might require to undergo the following tests:

  • A lab test of the swab from the glans penis
  • Urine and blood tests in case of diabetes patients

These tests are very necessary so that you receive the proper and effective treatment. Therefore, do not avoid or delay these tests. 

Treatment

There are a variety of medications and ointments available that can cure balanitis. In the cases of skin infections or allergies that cause balanitis, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. For fungal infection, the doctors give antifungal creams along with the medicines. Clotrimazole is the most common anti-fungal cream that the doctors prescribe in balanitis. 

In bacterial infections, penicillin or erythromycin are the common antibiotics that provide immediate relief. Although these antibiotics might not work if the condition is complicated.

The doctor recommends completing the course of the antibiotics so that the root cause completely cures. Leaving the medicines in between can be harmful and the inflammation of the glans will flare-up. 

Apart from medications, the best effective treatment for balanitis is laser circumcision. Laser circumcision is highly recommended in recurring or severe cases of balanitis.

Laser circumcision for balanitis

Circumcision is the surgical process to remove the foreskin of the penis. Laser circumcision is the most advanced procedure and is not invasive in nature. The success rate of laser circumcision is quite high. 

Laser circumcision requires no incisions and there is no bleeding. Also, the patient is under the effect of anesthesia, which makes the procedure painless for him. The entire procedure of laser circumcision takes about 20 minutes. Laser treatment for balanitis allows the patient to go home within 24 hours and have a speedy recovery. 

The patient does not have to follow any strict precautions after laser circumcision. Only a few simple instructions and regular follow-ups are enough to ensure the better health of the patient. So, there is nothing to fear about laser circumcision. It is the most effective treatment for balanitis and other conditions such as phimosis, paraphimosis, etc.
treatment of balanitis

Recovery after laser treatment for balanitis

The recovery period after laser circumcision treatment for balanitis is very short. The patient recovers in just 3-5 days. This recovery period is quite fast in comparison to that of traditional circumcision. Moreover, the person can resume his normal work life and physical activities right after the recovery. So, there is nothing to fret over the long downtime after the treatment. Instead, it will allow you to get back to a better quality of life which is free from the troubles of balanitis.

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