Balanitis is the inflammation of the skin on the head (glans) of the penis. Posthitis is the inflammation of the foreskin. Balanoposthitis is the inflammation of both the skin on the head of the penis and the foreskin. Balanitis and posthitis occurs more often in uncircumcised penises. Balanitis is caused by the growth of bacteria and/or fungus inside the foreskin.
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- Poor hygiene, not cleaning under the foreskin of the penis properly
- Sexually transmissible infections, such as herpes, or Trichomoniasis
- Infections with candida (thrush) or bacteria that live on the skin
- Chemical irritations- harsh soaps, disinfectants and lotions
- Other skin conditions such as psoriasis or dermatitis
- Allergies to certain medicines and latex condoms
Signs and Symptoms
- Red inflamed skin rash on the head of the penis or under the foreskin
- Inflammation of the foreskin
- Ulceration or inflammation causing a smelly discharge
- Yellow discharge with small red areas on the penis
Treatment depends on the cause. Seeking medical attention may be warranted if symptoms persist or worsen. There are a variety of treatments to manage balanitis. Keeping the head of the penis clean and dry is helpful. Washing the area with a gentle soap once a day is sufficient and ensuring the glans is dried well afterwards will prevent reoccurrences. Antibiotics and antifungal ointments/creams may also be prescribed to treat balanitis.