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Balanitis Treatment - Types, Causes, Diagnosis & Cure

Balanitis is an infection of the skin on the head of the penis. This happens mostly in uncircumcised males, and it is necessary to get it treated promptly. You can get the best treatment for Balanitis at Pristyn Care, with top-notch medical technologies and equipment. To get rid of all penis foreskin issues, book your consultation today with Pristyn Care.

Balanitis is an infection of the skin on the head of the penis. ... Read More

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  • What is Balanitis Infection?

    Balanitis is pain and inflammation of the penis glans that generally occur due to infection on the skin on the head of the penis. There are various causes of balanitis. While yeast infection, also called candida balanitis, is one of the most common reasons behind balanitis, it can also be caused due to bacterial infections.

    Alongside improper hygiene, reaction to latex condoms, allergic reaction to certain medications, and STDs can cause balanitis as well. Balanitis can be treated with antibiotics and antifungal creams. But, when these medical treatments fail to provide relief, urologists often suggest circumcision as the best treatment for balanitis symptoms.  

    A balanitis infection is generally not serious, and while it may cause pain and discomfort, it can be cured using topical medications. Balanitis is a non-contagious condition meaning it cannot spread from one person to another.

    However, it is possible to transfer the underlying infection that caused it in the first place. Some symptoms that may be indicative of balanitis are:

    • Rashes on Penis: Rashes, itching or irritation on the penile glans is one of the most common symptoms of balanitis. The skin there may also look red, purple, gray or white.
    • Red Spots on Penis: Red spots on the penile glans is a common symptom that is associated with a balanitis infection.
    • Balanitis Bumps: Scaly warts or occurrence of bumps on the head of the penis could be a symptom of a rare type of balanitis called Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis or simply PKMB. 
    • Redness on Foreskin: Alongside the penile glans, balanitis infection can also affect the foreskin. In such cases, you notice symptoms such as itchiness or redness of the foreskin.

    • Disease name

    Balanitis

    • Surgery name

    Circumcision - Foreskin Removal Surgery

    • Duration

    15-30 minutes

    • Treated by

    General Surgeon

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    What Are the Common Types of Balanitis?

    Balanitis is divided into three types:

    Zoon’s Balanitis

    Zoon Balanitis 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.

    Are you going through any of these symptoms?

    What Are The Causes Of Balanitis?

    Balanitis is more commonly found in uncircumcised men in comparison to the circumcised ones. The main cause of balanitis is poor hygiene practices. Due to improper hygiene, microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and yeast can thrive and multiply in the dark and moist area under the foreskin, eventually leading to infections. Due to these infections, the head of the penis, and sometimes the foreskin too gets swollen. Some other 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

    Balanitis Infection Diagnosis

    Prior to balanitis treatment, your doctor will perform a series of tests and diagnostics to not only evaluate your overall health but also uncover any underlying medical conditions you may have that could require additional care or precautions, during or after surgery. Balanitis infection is typically diagnosed with a simple physical examination as most of its symptoms are visible. 

    Alongside, your urologist may also perform some additional tests to better understand not only any potential balanitis causes behind it but also the type of balanitis you have. Some tests and diagnostics that your urologist may perform include: 

    • Swab test: A swab test is a simple test that is commonly performed to check for any STD’s or other infections you may have. In a swab test, the urologist takes a simple swab from the site of infection to analyze it.
    • Urinalysis: A urinalysis test is generally performed to check for signs of diabetes or infection by analyzing the visual, chemical and microscopic aspects of your urine.
    • Blood test: Your urologist may perform a simple blood test to check for signs of diabetes or any other infection that you may have.
    • Tissue biopsy: A tissue biopsy is another test that your urologist may perform to further understand your condition and potentially uncover the reason behind it. In a tissue biopsy, your doctor will take a sample of cells from the site of infection and analyze it under a microscope.

    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

    Balanitis occurs mostly in men with the tight foreskin (prepuce) that is difficult to retract over the glans penis.

    Balanitis is a very discomforting condition which can hinder your personal as well as professional life. It can often be a very painful experience and can impact your sexual life as well.  Therefore, it is quite obvious that one would want to get rid of balanitis as soon as possible.

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    Surgical Methods of Balanitis Treatment

    A circumcision surgery is generally considered to be a safe and effective balanitis treatment. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the foreskin covering the penile glans or the head of the penis. There are primarily three methods of performing circumcision:

    Laser circumcision

    Laser circumcision is an advanced and minimally invasive procedure that is performed to surgically remove the foreskin using a high-energy laser beam.

    Laser circumcision is extremely precise and does not involve the risk of any deep cuts or excessive bleeding. The recovery period in case of laser circumcision is considerably less and has been shown to have better results and postoperative quality of life. 

    Stapler circumcision

    Stapler circumcision is a more conventional form of circumcision that is safe, quick, and efficient in nature. Stapler circumcision is performed using a disposable surgical device that is specially designed to remove the foreskin.

    This stapler device fits snugly around the head of the penis and, once fired, removes the foreskin in a quick motion.

    Alongside, the stapler device also leaves behind a silicone ring around the incision wound to close it off and minimize bleeding. This silicone ring falls off on its own after 7-10 days once the wound heals.

    Open circumcision

    Open circumcision, sometimes referred to as dorsal slit technique, is a traditional method of performing circumcision that is performed using either a scalpel or surgical scissors.

    In an open circumcision, the surgeon makes an incision along the upper length of the foreskin from the tip of the corona to expose the penile glans.

    Compared to laser and stapler circumcision, open circumcision is more invasive and, as a result, requires longer to heal. It also carries significantly more risk of complications either during or after surgery. 

     

    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)

    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:

    • Excessive bleeding: Excessive bleeding is one of the most common complications that can occur after a circumcision surgery. While some minor bleeding is to be expected after surgery, persistent and prolonged bleeding may require medical attention.
    • Infection: Chances of infection after a circumcision surgery are generally minimal but it can still occur. If you start noticing any symptoms such as increased redness around the surgical wound, excessive swelling, pus or fever, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. 
    • 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: In some rare cases, the wound healing may be affected due to poor quality of postoperative care or some other causes. Such complications may cause skin issues or problematic circumcision scars.
    • Reaction to anesthesia: Cases of complications resulting from reaction to anesthesia are rare but can still happen and may require immediate attention from your healthcare provider. While some side-effects such as nausea and vomiting are normal, they should subside on their own a few hours after surgery. But, if they continue to persist, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
    • 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.

    Non-Surgical Treatments for Balanitis

    Before moving onto surgical treatments, your urologist may recommend use of some non-surgical alternatives for treating candidal or fungal balanitis. Depending on what is causing your condition, treatment may vary as well. 

    Antifungal creams

    If your balanitis is caused by a yeast infection, sometimes referred to as candida balanitis, your healthcare provider may prescribe the use of antifungal cream for balanitis.

    Creams for balanitis infection need to be applied on the head of the penis and foreskin. Some of the most commonly used brands of antifungal creams that your urologist may prescribe to treat fungal balanitis are given below:

    • Lotrimin
    • Cyclosporine ointment
    • Gladic
    • Glafine
    • Mycophenolate
    • Glazon
    • 0.05% fluticasone propionate
    • 2.0% sertaconazole nitrate

    Antibiotics

    If a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD’s) is the reason behind your balanitis, your healthcare provider may prescribe you some antibiotics to treat the infection.

    Depending on the infection, the type of antibiotics best suited for you is likely to vary as well. There are primarily three types of antibiotics that are generally recommended for effective balanitis treatment:

    • Amoxicillin: Amoxicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic that is generally used to treat certain STDs and infections caused by bacteria. While it may not be as effective for treating balanitis, it is commonly prescribed by urologists. Some brand names for amoxicillin include Moxatag and Ceftriaxone.
    • Doxycycline: Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that is generally prescribed by urologists to treat severe cases of balanitis infection caused by STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea. Some brand names for doxycycline include Vibramycin and Sumycin.
    • Ceftriaxone: Ceftriaxone is an antibiotic that is generally administered in the form of an injection and can be used to treat STDs such as gonorrhea and other bacterial infections. Some brand names for ceftriaxone include Cefixime and Ciprofloxacin. 

    It is to be noted however, that before taking any of the above-mentioned ointments and medications, it is important to consult your urologist first.

    Home Remedies

    There’s no proven home remedies to treat balanitis. Some balanitis home remedies and tips can help you manage or relieve some of the symptoms related to balanitis:

    • Use mild soaps and avoid any irritants – Use mild soaps for maintaining the hygiene of the penis. Remember not to use scented soaps, washes and shampoos as these can further irritate the skin and add to your miseries. Also avoid taking bubble baths as they can cause irritation and worsen the balanitis.
    • Apply Coconut oil – Coconut oil has soothing and nourishing effects on the skin. It also cures mild skin allergies or foreskin infection treatment. Lauric acid and caprylic acid present in coconut oil are very effective in soothing the irritated skin. Therefore, coconut oil is one of the ideal remedies to get fast relief from balanitis. The best thing about coconut oil is that it is easily available and not at all pricey.
    • Yogurt – Yogurt contains natural probiotics and has anti-inflammatory effects. Including yogurt in your regular diet increases the growth of positive bacteria in your body and thus helps fight off infections. You can also apply yogurt to the affected skin. Doing this reduces the swelling and soothes the irritation caused due to balanitis.
    • Use Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is another excellent home remedy for balanitis. It is particularly beneficial in the cases of balanitis caused due to Candida infections. The topical use of apple cider vinegar provides relief from the swelling and pain of balanitis. Apple cider vinegar also has anti-fungal properties that help fight the infection. All you need to do is mix apple cider vinegar with a little water and then apply it to the irritated penile region.

    Sexual Activities & Balanitis

    Engaging in any sexual activities, with balanitis can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know the reason behind it. Balanitis itself is not a contagious condition.

    However, it is still possible to pass on the underlying infection that caused it, to the sexual partner. Thus, it is often advised to refrain from any sexual activities until either your balanitis has healed or your doctor thinks it’s safe to do so.

    If you have sex anyway, given below is what you can expect before and after balanitis treatment:

    Before Balanitis Treatment

    • Sexual intercourse: It is likely that your urologist will advise you to avoid any sexual activities if you suffer from balanitis. Engaging in sexual intercourse will also likely cause further irritation on the penile glans and foreskin which may worsen your symptoms.
    • Masturbation: Your urologist may also advise you to refrain from masturbating as well. If you have balanitis, rubbing excessively on your penis may irritate it further and cause your symptoms to worsen. 

    After Balanitis Treatment

    • Sexual intercourse: Circumcision is generally performed as an effective treatment for balanitis. It is advisable to refrain from any sexual activities for at least 3-4 weeks after surgery. Once your circumcision wound has healed completely, you can engage in safe sex with your partner as per normal.
    • Masturbate: Once your circumcision wound has healed completely and your urologist thinks it’s safe, you can masturbate as per normal.

    What Are The Complications With Untreated Balanitis?

    Balanitis advances very slowly and generally does not hinder any physiological functions. If left untreated, though, balanitis can lead to severe complications such as:

    • Lichen sclerosus: Lichen sclerosus is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the skin on your genitals. Lichen sclerosus can affect urination and the flow of semen through the urethra.
    • Scar tissue: If left untreated for a long time, balanitis can lead to the formation of scar tissue around the head of the penis. This can make the foreskin tight and may lead to phimosis or paraphimosis.
    • Ulcerative lesions: Balanitis can also lead to the formation of painful sores or lesions which can bleed and cause scarring.
    • Risk of cancer: Cases of chronic balanitis can significantly increase the risk of developing penile cancer, but in rare instances. If you are exhibiting symptoms of balanitis, it is advised to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

    Balanitis Surgery Cost & Insurance coverage

    The average cost of a balanitis surgery in India can range anywhere from Rs. 26,000 to Rs. 35,000.

    Depending on various factors, however, such as the method of your surgery, hospital charges, cost of preoperative tests and diagnostics, and the  cost of postoperative medications, the exact cost of your surgery is likely to vary. 

    Balanitis surgery is generally covered by most health insurance plans in India if it is deemed to be a medical necessity by your healthcare provider.

    If left untreated, balanitis can lead to a multitude of penis related complications and diseases that not only affect your everyday life but also may require additional, more complex surgical procedures for treatment.

    However, if the reason behind your surgery is strictly cosmetic in nature, as is the case with any other cosmetic procedure, it is highly unlikely that your insurance plan will provide coverage for it.

    Prior to surgery, it is best to have a detailed discussion about your insurance plan and its inclusions and exclusions with your insurance provider.

    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.

    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 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

    Use over the counter ointments for balanitis treatment?

    Topical antifungal creams or ointments can be effective in treating mild cases of balanitis at home. You will not need a prescription to get an over the counter ointment for balanitis. But if you see no benefit with the OTC ointment for balanitis after few days of use or notice any side effects, discontinue the use and consult a urologist. Typically, if balanitis does not respond well to over the counter ointments or antifungal creams  in case of uncircumcised men, the urologist might suggest a circumcision to treat the condition effectively.

    Should I Wash the penis thoroughly every day?

    The most essential tip for preventing the inflammation from worsening is to maintain proper penile hygiene. Wash the penis every day while bathing. Make sure to clean the area under the foreskin properly as it is a favorable area for the microbes to harbor. For cleaning the area under the foreskin, you can also use cotton swabs.

    Can I use Tea tree oil for balanitis treatment?

    The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil are very effective in relieving balanitis. The best way to apply tea tree oil on the penis is by mixing with coconut oil. This prevents any chances of burning and reddening of the penis. So, you can use this home remedy for balanitis every day and experience fast healing.

    What should you add in your diet to get rid of balanitis?

    • Ginger is enriched with the anti-microbial and very effective in preventing inflammation of any kind. Hence, you should include ginger in your regular diet to get rid of balanitis fast.
    • Garlic has outstanding antibacterial and antifungal properties which help improve the condition of balanitis significantly. Studies have shown that garlic can sometimes be as effective as some anti-fungal creams used to cure balanitis. Therefore, increase your garlic intake for faster results.

    Does Aloe Vera Gel Help in Balanitis?

    Using aloe vera gel in its pure form is certainly among the best remedies for balanitis. The cooling and anti-bacterial effects of aloe vera gel on the skin helps in curing balanitis as well. There are no side-effects and also no hassles involved with using aloe vera gel for balanitis.

    When to Seek Medical Attention for Balanitis?

    If you start noticing symptoms such as fever, severe pain, inflammation and pus drainage from the penile glans or the foreskin, it is advisable to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

    These could be signs of an infection and likely require immediate medical attention. If left untreated, it could lead to some serious complications such as sepsis, gangrene, necrosis and in some severe cases, loss of the penis.

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    Content Reviewed By
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    Dr. Falguni Rakesh Verma
    27 Years Experience Overall
    Last Updated : April 13, 2024

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