Inflammation of the penis (Balanitis)

What is balanitis?

Balanitis is inflammation of the penis and occasionally the foreskin.

Who is affected?

Men of all ages.

What causes balanitis?

  • Infection from bacteria or fungi.
  • Irritation caused by chemicals in clothing, contraceptive cream or condom latex.
  • Tight foreskin (phimosis).
  • Trauma or minor injury to the foreskin and penis.

What are the symptoms of balanitis?

The main symptoms are a painful or itchy penis and an inflamed and moist genital area. In rare cases, fever, penile discharge or a burning sensation when urinating may be experienced.

How is balanitis treated?

  • Wash the penis (including under the foreskin) daily with soap and water, especially after sexual intercourse, and apply a soothing cream that has been recommended by your doctor.
  • Try to eliminate possible allergens — for example, use a different brand of contraceptive cream.
  • Your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear up any infection.
  • If balanitis recurs frequently or phimosis is found to be the cause, your doctor may recommend circumcision (removal of the foreskin).

What is the outlook?

Balanitis should clear up within a couple of weeks of treatment.

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