Hi, this is Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran, Medical Director and lead surgeon at the Chennai Circumcision Clinic. In this short blog post, we are going to discuss on one very important question I get from my patients.
What Balanitis is actually?
A Balanitis is nothing but a swelling of the foreskin or head of the penis. Interestingly, Balanitis affects roughly 1 in 20 males.
Balanitis largely seems to occur in uncircumcised men (i.e men who have an intact penile foreskin). It can be painful, but it typically is not a condition that you should panic about. It often can be relieved by using topical medication. Where topical medication fails, circumcision is recommended.
What causes balanitis to develop?
Balanitis is inflammation typically caused by infections or chronic skin conditions. Improper hygiene can contribute to skin irritation.
A tight foreskin is very common causes of balanitis. A tight foreskin is also called commonly called as a Phimosis.
In individuals with phimosis, smegma coupled with debris and insult from injury can lead to the development of balanitis
Both inadequate cleansing and too much cleansing can add to this problem. The condition is often caused by an overgrowth of either bacteria or yeast. The foreskin of the penis is an ideal place for these organisms to grow because it can trap moisture around the penis head.
Injuries on the tip of the penis or foreskin can cause swelling and discomfort.
Irritation in the area can also cause balanitis. Irritation can be caused by:
- Not rinsing soap completely off of your penis after showering
- Using scented soaps to clean your penis
- Using bar soap that dries out the skin
- Using scented lotions or sprays on your penis
Some laxatives, sleeping pills, painkillers, and antibiotics can cause balanitis as a side effect. This is called a fixed drug eruption.
Other causes of balanitis include:
- Reactive arthritis
- Diabetes that is not under control
- sexually transmitted infections like syphilis, trichomonas, and gonorrhea
Symptoms of balanitis
Swelling and redness of the foreskin may indicate balanitis. Other common symptoms may include:
- Tightened foreskin
- Itchy genitals
- Pain in the genital area
- Painful skin on the penis
Swelling of your penis tip can put pressure on your urethra. This can cause painful urination.
Balanitis can usually be diagnosed during a physical examination because most of its symptoms are visible. If you have discharge, your doctor may take a sample of it with a cotton swab or collect a urine sample. They will check it for the presence of bacterial or fungal cells. This helps determine the cause of the balanitis.
When the cause of balanitis is a chronic skin condition, your doctor may perform a biopsy. For a biopsy, your doctor removes a small piece of tissue from the penis in order to examine it for the disease.
You will be given local anesthesia before the doctor collects the sample.
Discontinue the use of all perfumed soaps, lotions, or powders, as they are often are a cause of foreskin irritation. Use only warm water for cleansing.
Circumcision is another excellent treatment option for men suffering from chronic balanitis. Benefits of circumcision are?both long-lasting and permanent.