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What is Balanitis Infection?

Balanitis is a medical condition where the head of the penis gets swollen. It is typically an infection of the skin on the head of the penis. This urological condition can be uncomfortable, intolerable, and sometimes painful, but it is usually not severe and can be cured with topical medication. Balanitis is not at all contagious. However, despite that, an individual can transfer the underlying infection that occasioned it. Here are some facts to consider and keep in mind about Balanitis:

  • It generally happens in men with uncircumcised penises.
  • Treatment revolves around addressing the prime cause to help check future episodes of the difficulty.
  • Balanitis is not a sexually transmitted infection.
  • The medication works in the case of Balanitis, but circumcision will be needed if the condition is recurrent in nature.
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What Are the Common Types of Balanitis?

What Are the Common Types of Balanitis?

Balanitis is divided into three types:

Zoon’s Balanitis

This is the most common type of Balanitis. It impacts uncircumcised, middle-aged, and older men, resulting in an inflamed, red penis tip. It is also known as plasma cell balanitis. The starting treatment procedure may involve maintaining good hygiene and using emollient creams. Circumcision is curative.

Circinate Balanitis

It happens because of reactive arthritis. It is a kind of arthritis that evolves in reaction to an infection in the body. In addition to redness and inflammation, Circinate Balanitis also leads to small lesions (sores) on the tip of the penis. At the earlier stage, people experience mini dots with a white plaque. It then grows into red areas not bordered by white plaque. Patients do not suffer from itching or burning, nor do they go through bad smells. 

Pseudoepitheliomatous Keratotic and Micaceous Balanitis (PKMB)

This type of Balanitis causes warts on the glans. It is a very rare urological condition affecting men over 60 years. The condition is typically asymptomatic, but maceration, fissuring, and irritation may be linked. The clinical course of PKMB is chronic and can be recurrent after treatment.

What Are The Causes Of Balanitis?

What Are The Causes Of Balanitis?

Balanitis is caused by a fungal infection, such as a yeast infection. But it can also be caused due to bacterial infections. In addition, it happens because of hygiene issues because the foreskin can suck in moisture and give an environment for yeast and bacteria to grow. Some of the causes of Balanitis are mentioned below:

Infection (not sexually transmitted)

Various germs on the skin may enhance and cause infection. Therefore, a prevalent cause of Balanitis is a yeast or bacterial infection prompted by a fungus- candida. 

Infection (sexually transmitted)

Some sexually transmitted infections can also cause balanitis. But it takes place occasionally. Precisely, an STI happens if you have swelling of the urethra. 

Skin conditions

Certain skin conditions can also cause Balanitis- for example, psoriasis can affect the penis. In addition to psoriasis, other skin conditions can cause Balanitis but are unfamiliar. 

Allergic irritants

Skin is a very sensitive part of the human body, and it can get swollen if it gets affected by specific procedures, chemicals, or other irritants. For example:

  • Soaps and disinfectants 
  • Over-washing or scrubbing 
  • Latex condoms and lubricants 
  • Certain washing powders

Poor hygiene

Poor hygiene around the penile area, accompanied by a tight foreskin, can result in irritation caused by smegma. Smegma is a cheesy substance that develops under the foreskin if the glans are not cleaned.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Balanitis

Diagnosis and Treatment of Balanitis

Balanitis Infection Diagnosis

Majorly, a scraping of skin is examined under the microscope. Then, it may be sent to the laboratory for further testing. When Balanitis appears distinct from a typical infection, your doctor can advise you to see a skin specialist or that a biopsy is performed. In a skin biopsy, a piece of skin is taken out and examined. It helps in knowing whether you have an abnormal type of infection.

Balanitis Treatment

The treatment of Balanitis depends on the cause. If a yeast infection triggers the problem of Balanitis, then your doctor will advise you to use an antifungal cream. Furthermore, if you have an infection caused by a skin bacteria, you will be advised to apply an antibiotic cream and to wash the area properly. Sometimes antibiotic pills may be required.

You must keep the area clean and dry when the skin is swollen but not infected. Soaps, skin lotions, or other chemicals that aggravate the condition should be avoided. In uncircumcised men, circumcision is the best method of treatment for Balanitis. Circumcision is a procedure performed to remove the foreskin from the head of the penis.

It prevents recurrent infections, primarily in men with tight and difficult-to-retract foreskin. This is because the removal of the foreskin stops the accumulation of urine or any residual matter that leads to Balanitis in the first place. In the absence of the foreskin, there is no longer an environment for an infection or inflammation that can result in Balanitis. Hence, a permanent solution for balanitis can be stapler circumcision

What Are The Complications Possible With Balanitis?

What Are The Complications Possible With Balanitis?

Balanitis is a medical condition that advances very slowly. Therefore, it doesn’t possess the power to hinder any physiological function. But, prolonged Balanitis can have severe complications if left untreated and can lead to chronic inflammation and other complications, like:

  1. Lichen Sclerosus: Lichen sclerosus happens when white, hard patches evolve on the skin. It can affect urination and the flow of semen through the urethra.
  2. Scar Tissue: Prolonged balanitis can lead to scarring around the head of the penis and make the foreskin tight to retract back. 
  3. Ulcerative Lesions: Balanitis can lead to painful sores that bleed and ultimately cause scarring.
  4. Risk of Cancer: Chronic balanitis escalates the risk of various types of cancer. Quick treatment of balanitis can significantly decrease the risk of complications. 

Risks Involved in Balanitis Surgery (Circumcision)

Risks Involved in Balanitis Surgery (Circumcision)

The possibility of risks and complications after balanitis surgery (Circumcision) is quite low. However, it does not mean it can’t cause any complications at all. Therefore, listed below are some possible risks and complications associated with circumcision surgery that you must be aware of:

  • Bleeding: Some patients may experience bleeding from the incision after the procedure. Consult a doctor if it does not subside on its own.
  • Infection: The incision stands the risk of getting infected which may stretch the recovery period.
  • Foreskin issues: In some cases, complications with foreskin might occur. The surgeon might leave the foreskin too short or too long which can lead to additional problems such as paraphimosis, tight frenulum or foreskin infection.
  • If the surgeon fails to perform the procedure intricately, the foreskin could reattach to the penis improperly. This condition can be quite distressing for the patient and may require another surgery.
  • Reattachment: The foreskin could reattach to the penis improperly. This condition can be very uncomfortable and may require more surgery.
  • Wound complications: If wound healing is affected, it can cause skin issues or problematic circumcision scars.
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia: Some patients are allergic to anesthesia. Since all circumcision surgeries are performed under the influence of anesthesia, the possibility of developing a reaction to it can’t be ignored. The usual symptoms of this reaction include nausea, vomiting, and headache.
  • Balanoposthitis: Inflammation of the foreskin and glans. This condition only affects uncircumcised men and typically causes itching, swelling, and irritation. It’s also common in men who have diabetes or phimosis.

So it is always recommended to do laser circumcision surgery from experienced urologist for safe and secure procedure.

Balanitis Surgery Cost & Insurance coverage

Balanitis Surgery Cost & Insurance coverage

The cost of balanitis surgery in India ranges between INR 30,000 to INR 35,000. However, the final cost of surgery is calculated after considering various factors, including the choice of treatment city and hospital, the type of surgery, the experience of the urologist, etc.

Like most surgeries, Balanitis surgery is also covered under insurance. At Pristyn Care we offer complete insurance assistance and have a dedicated team that helps patients throughout the claim process. To know more about the insurance coverage of Balanitis, get in touch with our medical coordinators.

FAQs About Balanitis Treamtent

Can Balanitis lead to erectile dysfunction?

Yes, the pain caused by the swollen foreskin increases when you have an erection. It destroys the thought of sex and can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Can Balanitis cause death?

No. Balanitis can not result in the death of a person because it is not such a life-threatening condition. But it should never be ignored and left untreated. The pain can become intolerable and unendurable if balanitis is undiagnosed and left untreated. 

Is Balanitis dangerous?

Balanitis is uncomfortable but is not dangerous. It can be relieved with the help of topical medication. But, when left untreated, it can result in Balanoposthitis- a term that describes long-term chronic inflammation. It can also lead to Phimosis.

Can Balanitis be cured permanently?

Yes, Balanitis is a urological condition that can be cured properly and completely. Your doctor can put you on antibiotics or other medications like creams or lotions to medicate the problem. But, the forever solution to this problem is circumcision.

How to know if Balanitis is bacterial or fungal?

If the inflammation is fungal, the doctor will prescribe an antifungal medication. Balanitis symptoms include burning, swelling, redness, and itching around the penis head. If bacteria cause the infection, the doctor will prescribe certain antibiotics like erythromycin. Symptoms of bacterial infection are lesions (sores) in the glans.

Is Balanitis a symptom of HIV?

It is believed that a rash on the penis is a major symptom of HIV. But it is also a sign of Balanitis, occurring in uncircumcised middle-aged and older adults. It is usually the result of a bacterial or yeast infection.

Can I have sex if I have Balanitis?

Yes, you can indulge in sexual activities if you have Balanitis. But not in the case where STDs cause Balanitis. 

What are some of the home remedies to prevent Balanitis?
  • Use mild soap
  • Keep hygiene your priority
  • Put some salt in the bath
  • Wash your underwear properly with water or by using a non-biological washing powder.
  • Stay away from disinfectants, chemical items, or any other irritants.
  • Heterosexual men should advise their partners to consult a doctor to know whether they have thrush. 
What Are The Symptoms Of Balanitis?
  • Pain and irritation on the head of the penis
  • Pain during urination
  • Tight skin on the glans
  • Redness
  • Itching under the glans
  • Swelling
  • Formation of white skin on the penis
  • White discharge of the foreskin (even yellowish discharge can happen from the affected skin)
  • Repugnant smell
  • Painful urination
  • Sores on the glans 
How to prevent balanitis from getting worse?

Balanitis is manageable in most cases, if the affected individual follows some care tips. Listed below are some Do’s of Balanitis that will help you manage this disease and prevent it from turning serious:

  • Wash your penis every day
  • Gently pull back your foreskin and wash the area with warm water
  • Dry gently after washing
  • Only use condoms that are designed for sensitive skin
  • Wash your hands before peeing or touching your penis
How does Balanitis Form?

Balanitis generally forms in uncircumcised men as infections, both yeast, and bacteria, get the ideal environment under the foreskin to grow. Additionally, it also affects men with phimosis, a condition that causes the foreskin to become tight and difficult to retract.