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Balanitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Jan 29, 2024

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Types Of Balanitis

Causes Of Balanitis

Symptoms Of Balanitis

Risk Factors Of Balanitis

Diagnosis Of Balanitis

Treatment Of Balanitis


Balanitis, or pain and inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the glans (head) of the penis, mainly affects men who were assigned male at birth (AMAB) or who have never had their circumcision. The glandular epidermis (glans) is where the foreskin is removed during the circumcision procedure. Yeast infections are typically the cause of balanitis. However, some dermatological skin conditions, as well as bacterial and viral infections, can also cause balanitis.

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Types Of Balanitis

An infection whether bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal is the most common cause of balanitis. Furthermore, several non-contagious types exist, like:

  • Zoon-related balanitis: This chronic (long-lasting) variant, which causes an inflamed and discoloured penis head, is more common in middle-aged uncircumcised individuals. It can explain as much as 10% of cases of balanitis.
  • Circinate Balanitis: Balanitis of this type is brought on by reactive arthritis. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops when an infection occurs in your body. Not only can circinate balanitis result in redness and irritation, but it can also create sores, which are microscopic lesions on the head of the penis.
  • Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis (PKMB): This highly uncommon variety of balanitis causes scaly warts or pimples on the head of your penis. It affects those over the age of sixty.
  • Regulated release of medication: This is the development of a skin lesion brought on by medications or chemicals in certain skin sites.
  • Lichen Planus: A rash appears on one or more body parts as a result of this skin condition.

Furthermore, a correlation has been observed between some types of balanitis and precancerous or malignant diseases, including:

  • Basal cell carcinoma: This specific type of skin cancer starts in the basal cells of your skin's outer layer. It results in bumps or lumps. This type of skin cancer is the most common.
  • Carcinoma with squamous cells: The squamous cells that comprise the outermost layer of your skin are where this specific type of skin cancer starts to grow. It results in the development of lesions, marks, or masses. This type of skin cancer is the second most common type.
  • Kaposi Sarcoma: This rare type of cancer may be more likely to affect those with weakened immune systems.
  • Paget's disease in the extramammary gland (EMPD): This rare disorder can cause discolouration, scaling, and itching of the skin around your genitalia.

Also Read: Morphea: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Causes Of Balanitis

If you have foreskin, the most common cause of balanitis is rarely cleaning your penis and under your foreskin. Other causes include:

  • Genital yeast infection (candidiasis).
  • Infections acquired during intercourse.
  • Scabies is a tiny burrowing parasite invasion.
  • Sensitivities to harsh chemicals or detergents.
  • Psoriasis and eczema are examples of skin conditions that cause dry, scaly, and itchy skin.
  • Diabetes.
  • Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops when an infection spreads throughout your body.

Also Read: Granuloma Annulare: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Symptoms Of Balanitis

The symptoms of balanitis may appear suddenly or gradually. They could include:

  • There's soreness and swelling on the upper part of your penis.
  • There could be spots or overall discolouration on your penis.
  • It pains under your foreskin.
  • Parts of your penis that are white or shiny.
  • Smegma under your foreskin, often known as white discharge.
  • An unpleasant smell.
  • Feeling discomfort when urinating.
  • Ulcers or blisters on the head of the penis. (PKMB is a rare cause of this illness that affects those over 60.)

Also Read: Impetigo: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of Balanitis

Balanitis mainly affects uncircumcised males or people AMAB because the moist, warm area under the foreskin provides the ideal breeding habitat for yeast and bacteria. Any age can experience it, but people with phimosis, a tight foreskin that makes it difficult to pass beyond the penis' head are more prone to experience it. The following categories of individuals have a higher chance of developing balanitis:

  • Wipe their penis or under their foreskin regularly.
  • Are middle-aged or older
  • Have diabetes, since the increased glucose (sugar) on their skin may promote the growth of fungus and bacteria.
  • Obese.
  • Possess sex-related infections.
  • Have a vulnerability to irritant substances.

Also Read: Pemphigus: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Diagnosis Of Balanitis

To diagnose balanitis and determine whether an infection is the cause of your symptoms, medical professionals do a physical examination. The opening at the tip of your penis is called the urethral opening, and your doctor may collect a sample from there and send it to a lab for examination. Your doctor may also recommend a blood test or urine test (urinalysis) to screen for infections and diabetes. In certain cases, your doctor may recommend a biopsy if they believe you may have a condition other than balanitis.

Also Read: Neurodermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Treatment Of Balanitis

The treatment plan is determined by the underlying aetiology of balanitis. Options for treatment include:

  • Antifungal Creams: To cure a yeast infection that is causing balanitis, your doctor may recommend an antifungal cream like clotrimazole. The foreskin and the head of your penis need to be treated with the cream.
  • Antibiotics: To treat any STD-related illnesses causing your symptoms, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic will depend on the kind of infection.
  • Wash your penis more thoroughly and more often: Your provider may suggest that you wash and pat dry under your foreskin frequently to reduce the likelihood of balanitis recurring. Avoid using strong soaps to excessively wash or scrub your penis. Warm water is usually sufficient.
  • Management of diabetes: If you have diabetes, your healthcare provider will teach you how to control it.
  • Circumcision: If you have repeated episodes of balanitis, your doctor may suggest circumcision. During a circumcision, the foreskin covering your penis is surgically removed. Most often, surgeons would recommend this procedure to patients with extremely tight foreskins. Your surgeon might recommend a dorsal slit if you choose not to get a full circumcision. A dorsal slit keeps your foreskin in place, however, it will release the tight ring and expose the head of your penis.

Also Read: Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

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