Balanoposthitis is one of the common medical conditions that affect the penis. It causes inflammation of the foreskin and glans in uncircumcised males. Any individual can suffer from balanoposthitis, which is treatable and curable with proper care and surgical intervention. However, with the latest advancements in the medical field, most urologists prefer to perform laser circumcision surgery to cure balanoposthitis in uncircumcised males.

Balanoposthitis is often confused with other foreskin and penile conditions like phimosis and balanitis. Each of these three conditions affects different parts of the penis.

  • Phimosis: Inability or difficulty to retract the foreskin
  • Balanitis: Inflammation of the glans penis [head of the penis]
  • Balanoposthitis: Inflammation of both the glans penis and the foreskin

Individuals with balanoposthitis can suffer symptoms that are mentioned below. And the signs of balanoposthitis appear near the penis head [glans] and foreskin [prepuce].

  • Penile pain while urinating
  • Discomfort and painful sexual intercourse
  • Irritation and tenderness in the penis
  • Discoloration of the penis skin [grayish or whitish or shiny skin]
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Dry, thick, and leathery skin [lichenification]
  • Tight foreskin
  • Swollen glans and foreskin
  • Foul smelly discharge
  • Skin erosions or lesions

The occurrence of symptoms depends on the cause of balanoposthitis. For example, penile yeast infections are among the most common causes of balanoposthitis. Due to this cause, one can suffer from symptoms such as itching and burning around the glans penis, and foreskin. If the cause of balanoposthitis is tight foreskin or STDs, one may suffer from symptoms such as pain, irritation, dry skin, and swollen glans [penis head]

In any case, we suggest not to delay the treatment for balanoposthitis because leaving it untreated can cause some severe complications that can affect one’s penile health and sexual activity.

Treatments for Balanoposthitis:

Using the latest diagnostic tests and thorough visual examination of the penis, urologists can easily diagnose balanoposthitis. Upon proper diagnosis of the condition, the urologist can recommend the best suitable treatment for infection in the penis tip and the foreskin.

The primary goal of the treatment for balanoposthitis is to eliminate various pathogenic organisms and control inflammation, irritation, and pain. Depending on the severity of the condition, urologists can recommend either medications or surgical intervention or a combination of both.

Medical treatment for balanoposthitis includes topical antibiotics, antifungals, and low-potency steroid creams.

  • Topical antifungal creams:

If balanoposthitis is caused by various species of pathogenic dermatophytes, yeasts, and Malassezia furfur [fungal infections], the doctor can recommend topical antifungal creams like clotrimazole. Antifungal medications [ointments & creams] can cause the death of fungal cells by damaging the permeability barrier in the fungal cytoplasmic membrane. A urologist may need to rediagnose and reevaluate the disease condition if no clinical improvement is seen after four [4] weeks.

  • Topical antibiotic creams:

Topical antibiotic medications are used to reduce fungi, protozoa, and anaerobic bacteria that are causing balanoposthitis. Antibiotics will either restrict or inhibit the growth of bacteria by blocking its vital processes. Different antibiotics work against various types of bacteria. These medications can promote anti-inflammatory effects and reduce the severity of balanoposthitis symptoms.

A clinical study performed by medical experts concluded that “topical application of ‘water of the three [3] sulfates’ [copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, and alum] is effective in treating balanoposthitis and balanitis. However, more medical research needs to be conducted for a final conclusion.”

In severe, recurrent, and recalcitrant cases of balanoposthitis, urologists will recommend circumcision as a permanent solution.

  • Circumcision:

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. This can be performed on any male individuals, including baby boys, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. In case of severe balanoposthitis and other foreskin problems like phimosis and paraphimosis, urologists can recommend undergoing circumcision surgery. Apart from medical purposes, circumcision can be practiced as a religious ritual or for cosmetic purposes.

One of our experienced pediatric surgeons says, “Worldwide, approximately more than 30% of males are circumcised. Circumcision surgery helps in reducing the risk of contracting HIV and other STDs and STIs like gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital herpes, and chlamydia. Getting circumcised not only helps males but is also beneficial for female partners of those circumcised males.”

Sometimes, a urologist can also recommend preputioplasty [release of foreskin] as an alternative to circumcision. To know more information about circumcision and preputioplasty, consult our urologists or pediatric surgeons.

For the permanent cure of balanoposthitis, most urologists recommend undergoing circumcision. And circumcision can be performed as an open surgery or laser surgery. Out of these methods, laser circumcision surgery is preferred by most pediatric surgeons and patients.

Why laser circumcision?

Laser circumcision is more beneficial than any other surgical procedure that is used to remove the foreskin. Because of this, most urologists and pediatric surgeons prefer to perform laser surgery. Some of the benefits associated with laser circumcision are:

  • Less pain: The patient feels minimal or less pain when compared with other available foreskin removal methods.
  • Less bleeding: Less or minimal bleeding is observed when compared with open circumcision surgery.
  • No cuts or incisions: The surgeon won’t make any cuts or incisions as in conventional surgery. Laser is used to remove the foreskin.
  • Safer: In comparison to open surgery, laser circumcision is much safer as it avoids the occurrence of post-surgical complications.
  • Quick discharge: The patient can go home on the same day of the surgery.
  • Daycare procedure: Laser circumcision is performed as a daycare procedure, and so there is no need for hospitalization.
  • Less risk of infection: The risk of infection is significantly less as this procedure involves no cuts or wounds.
  • Quick treatment: One of the important benefits of laser surgery is that the duration to complete the treatment. The surgeon may take 15 to 25 minutes to complete the laser surgery.
  • Faster healing: The patient who undergoes laser circumcision surgery can heal quickly and can get back to everyday routines within a few days.
  • Easy to perform: Performing or conducting laser surgery is way easier than performing open surgery. 

So, with all these benefits, laser circumcision is one of the safest and best treatment methods worth considering to cure balanoposthitis.

Final words:

Balanoposthitis has many causes, and often, more than one cause is involved. Topical antibacterial or antifungal creams are used as first-line treatment to cure balanoposthitis. If medications fail to treat infection and inflammation of penis tip and foreskin, circumcision is performed. It is better to prevent balanoposthitis by washing and drying the foreskin.