Definition of Balanitis, Causes and Treatment

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans, the tip of the penis, usually the consequence of a bacterial or fungal (yeast) infection.

Balanitis is more likely to occur in uncircumcised men, as the foreskin can provide the moist, warm environment that supports the growth of pathogens. Diligent personal hygiene is especially important in uncircumcised men to keep the area beneath the foreskin clean and dry to prevent irritation and infection.

The diagnostic path may include laboratory culture of a sample swabbed from the inflamed area to determine the cause of the infection, with appropriate antibiotic medications or antifungal medications to treat the infection. Medications may be oral (taken by mouth), topical (applied to the penis), or both.

Most balanitis clears with treatment and hygienic measures.

A potentially serious complication is phimosis, in which the foreskin forms adhesions to the glans and becomes unretractable. Phimosis further complicates balanitis and may require circumcision (surgical removal of the foreskin).


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