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Zoon Balanitis - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Zoon balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin. You can get the best treatment for zoon balanitis at Pristyn Care, with top-notch medical technologies and equipment. To get rid of penis foreskin issues like zoon balanitis, book your consultation today with the best urologist Pristyn Care.

Zoon balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin. ... Read More

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  • What Is Zoon Balanitis?

    Zoon balanitis is the most common type of balanitis and is a chronic, benign, rare inflammatory disorder that appears as lesions on the glans penis and prepuce. It typically occurs in middle-aged and elderly uncircumcised men. 

    Zoon balanitis is also called ‘balanitis circumscripta plasmacellularis’ because the patches are well defined, and ‘plasma cell balanitis’ because many plasma cells are seen when the affected skin is examined under the microscope.

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    What Causes Zoon Balanitis?

    The main cause of zoon balanitis is poor penile hygiene practices. Dead skin cells, droplets of urine, and soap particles normally present on the skin get trapped in by the foreskin, which leads to inflammation and irritation of the foreskin and the glans penis underneath it. 

    Zoon balanitis is not caused by an infection and cannot be passed on to a sexual partner. Also, it may be present on its own or, more often, is a sign of an underlying skin condition such as lichen sclerosus or lichen planus. 

    Are you going through any of these symptoms?

    What Are The Symptoms Of Zoon Balanitis?

    Symptoms of zoon balanitis include:

    • Pain and irritation on the head of the penis
    • Discoloration or discolored patches on the penis
    • Itching under the foreskin
    • Swelling
    • Areas of shiny or white skin on the penis
    • White discharge under the foreskin
    • A foul smell
    • Pain while urinating
    • Sores or lesions on the head of the penis
    • Difficult or painful sexual intercourse

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Zoon Balanitis

    Diagnosis

    A urologist makes the diagnosis of zoon balanitis after carefully examining the skin. A small skin sample is taken from the skin of the penis and checked under the microscope to confirm the diagnosis and check for possible underlying conditions. This procedure, known as skin biopsy, needs a local anesthetic injection and possibly stitches to close the wound. 

    Treatment

    The treatment of zoon balanitis depends on the underlying causes. Normally, ointments or steroid creams of mild to strong strength, with or without the presence of anti-yeast or anti-bacterial agents, may be prescribed by the doctor and can be used for short periods intermittently. 

    For personal hygiene, it is advised to use a soap alternate instead of regular soap to avoid irritation to the skin. 

    Zoon balanitis can also be treated by circumcision. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin covering the tip of the penis. This is because removing the foreskin stops the accumulation of urine, dead skin cells, or any residual matter that leads to zoon balanitis in the first place. Hence, an effective solution for zoon balanitis can be open, laser circumcision and stapler circumcision

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    What Are The Possible Complications Of Zoon Balanitis?

    Zoon balanitis is a medical condition that advances intermittently. Therefore, it does not have the power to hinder any physiological function. But, prolonged zoon balanitis can have severe risks and complications if left untreated and can result in chronic inflammation and other complications, like:

    1. Phimosis: Phimosis is a urological condition defined as the inability to retract the skin (foreskin) that covers the head of the penis. Phimosis may emerge as a tight ring of the foreskin, which circles the tip of the penis that prevents full retraction.
    2. Paraphimosis: Paraphimosis is a urologic emergency that happens in uncircumcised males when the foreskin gets trapped behind the corona of the glans penis. It can lead to strangulation of the glans, distal venous engorgement, and even necrosis.
    3. Ulcerative lesions: Zoon balanitis can also lead to painful sores that bleed and ultimately cause scarring.
    4. Scar tissue: Prolonged zoon balanitis can lead to scarring around the tip of the penis and make the foreskin difficult to retract.
    5. Risk of transformation into malignancy: Malignancy is a term for diseases where abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Malignant cells can also spread to other body parts through the lymph systems and blood. Central nervous system cancers are malignancies that begin in the spinal cord and brain tissues.

    Risks Involved In Zoon Balanitis Surgery

    Circumcision is the surgical procedure to treat zoon balanitis. The possibility of risks and complications of circumcision is relatively low. However, it does not mean it can’t cause complications. Therefore, listed below are some of the risks and complications linked with circumcision surgery that you should be aware of:

    • Bleeding: Some patients can experience bleeding from the incision after the surgery. It is recommended to consult a doctor immediately if it does not subside independently.
    • Infection: The incision risks getting infected, which may extend the recovery period of zoon balanitis.
    • Foreskin issues:  In some cases, complications with the foreskin might occur after zoon balanitis surgery. The surgeon can leave the foreskin too short or too long, which can lead to other medical problems such as paraphimosis or foreskin infection.
    • Necrosis of the Penis- Necrosis is a rare complication. Still, it has been reported as a complication of circumcision to treat zoon balanitis.
    • Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO)- BXO happens when the skin on the glans hardens and turns white. The hard tissue can make it difficult for urine and semen to flow through the urethra. Another name for BXO is lichen sclerosus.

    Postoperative Care After Zoon Balanitis Surgery

    Postoperative care is important after circumcision surgery for zoon balanitis. After the surgery, your urologist will give you tips on preventing complications after surgery, and encourage recovery. Listed below are some post-surgery care tips that you must follow:

    • You might experience pain after circumcision. However, it should not be a huge cause for concern. Your urologist will prescribe medicines for pain management. Make sure you take all the medicines as advised by the doctor.
    • Only wear loose-fitting clothes after the surgery. Doing this will reduce the risk of pain and swelling in the operated area. In addition, wear supportive underwear that would keep the penis protected.
    • Do not overexert yourself, and avoid heavy activities for some weeks after the surgery.
    • Do not shower before your bandage is removed. Also, be very careful while cleaning the incision area. Always pat dry the skin carefully.
    • Avoid harsh soaps, or lotions that can irritate the skin.
    • Avoid having sex for at least 4 weeks after the surgery.

    When To Seek Medical Attention For Zoon Balanitis?

     It is always better to seek medical attention from a professional as soon as you experience symptoms of zoon balanitis. Your doctor will evaluate the root cause of the problem and then suggest suitable treatment options to treat zoon balanitis. If your medical condition does not improve using ointments or steroid creams, and even after prolonged treatment, the problem persists, your doctor may suggest circumcision.

    Common FAQs Around Adult Zoon Balanitis

    Is zoon balanitis hereditary?

    No, zoon balanitis is not hereditary.

    What does zoon balanitis look like?

     Zoon balanitis resembles moist, glistening, bright red or brown patches that get sharply demarcated from the surrounding skin. The distribution is often symmetrical, affecting the glans penis and adjacent foreskin, described as kissing lesions.

    Is zoon balanitis painful?

    Zoon balanitis is a painful urological condition that causes a red, painful penis head. 

    How do you treat zoon balanitis naturally?

    Practicing good hygiene, like cleaning the penis regularly and keeping the area under the foreskin dry, is the most crucial step a person can take to prevent zoon balanitis. People who repeatedly get zoon balanitis should consult their doctor immediately.

    Which antibiotic is best for zoon balanitis?

    Mild zoon balanitis cases can be treated with topical metronidazole, while more severe cases are treated with oral antibiotics like oral metronidazole for seven days.

    Can I have sex if I have zoon balanitis?

    You should avoid having sex while you have zoon balanitis, especially if you are not aware of its cause. Sex can cause further irritation. If you have sex, wearing a condom can help protect your skin and reduce discomfort.

    Can I masturbate if I have zoon balanitis?

    If you have zoon balanitis, masturbation can lead to further irritation and discomfort. If you experience pain, it is a good idea to avoid masturbating until the penis has time to heal.

    Can I use tea tree oil for zoon balanitis treatment?

    Tea tree oil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are very useful in treating zoon balanitis. The best method to apply tea tree oil on the penis is by mixing it with coconut oil. It prevents any possibility of burning and reddening of the penis. 

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    Content Reviewed By
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    Dr Ankit Kumar
    13 Years Experience Overall
    Last Updated : July 5, 2024

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