All You Need To Know About Balanitis
If you have been having issues with the head of your penis or your foreskin, you make have a condition called Balanitis. While you may be unfamiliar with the name, it is a common condition that affects most men at some time during their lifetime. Here we will address any questions that you may have on this type of infection. As always, we encourage you to seek treatment if you are experiencing any kind of genital discomfort. Our clinics are committed to the optimal health of the men of this country.
Exactly what is Balanitis?
Balanitis refers to the inflammation of the head of the penis. If the foreskin is also infected, the condition is called balanoposthitis. However only medical practitioners make this distinction. For ease of reference “balanitis” is the term used. Statistics reveal that 1 in 10 males will suffer from balanitis. This condition can affect men of all age groups. We treat this condition often at our clinic.
What causes Balanitis?
Balanitis is caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. It is often linked to poor personal hygiene and is more prevalent in uncircumcised males. Balanitis usually occurs in men with tight foreskin (phimosis) where retraction for proper cleaning is difficult.
When the foreskin is always pulled forward, smegma irritation, lack of aeration, and discharge around the glans penis can give rise to infection and inflammation.
Balanitis can also be caused by the following factors:
Over-washing – The excessive use of bath gels and soaps. The chemicals can cause irritation and dryness.
Skin conditions – These include allergies, lichen sclerosis, lichen planus, eczema, and psoriasis.
Diabetes – The urine of diabetics contain sugar. When the head of a diabetic’s penis is always coated in sugar, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Diabetics who use SGLT2 inhibitors often suffer from balanitis. These medications work by causing patients to excrete sugar via their urine.
What are the symptoms of Balanitis?
If you are experiencing the following balanitis’ symptoms, you should make an appointment at our clinic as soon as possible:
-Redness of the tip of the penis
-Soreness of the tip of the penis
-Swelling of the glans penis
-Difficulty retracting foreskin
Pain or discomfort during urination
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention straight away.
How is balanitis diagnosed?
First, your doctor will ask you some questions regarding your health, habits, and lifestyle choices to get some insight into how you may have gotten the infection.
Your doctor will then perform a physical examination of the affected areas. Then a swab sample will be taken by your doctor so that the bacteria causing the infection can be identified. Depending on the results and if an STI is suspected, you may have to undergo STD screening.
A blood test will be done if your doctor suspects that you may be diabetic.
On the rare occasion, If It appears that you are struggling with persistent inflammation, a biopsy of the inflamed skin may be the next course of action.
Does Balanitis cause any long-term effects?
Unfortunately, constricting phimosis is a complication that is often seen with recurrent balanitis. This condition can cause the foreskin of the penis to become tighter and tighter, eventually making it impossible to retract the foreskin from the head of the penis (glans penis).
This condition can further exacerbate balanitis. A patient may experience painful erections that can adversely affect a man’s sex life.
Other complications that are less common are:
-Vesicoureteral reflux (abnormal flow of urine back toward the bladder)
-Urinary retention (inability to completely empty the bladder)
-Meatal stenosis (narrowing of the opening of the urethra)
-Urethral strictures (scarring that causes the narrowing of the opening of the urethra)
On the rare occasion, these conditions may lead to sepsis.
What is the treatment for balanitis?
Balanitis infections are treated by topical cream and in severe cases, an oral medication might be employed.
If the balanitis is being caused by an STI, the appropriate treatments will be prescribed.
If your balanitis is diabetes-related, you may need to have your blood sugar levels checked and will be prescribed medication to get your blood sugar levels under control. Your doctor will also talk to you about lifestyle changes like adding exercise to your daily routine and diet to help control your diabetes.
How can the risk of Balanitis be reduced?
You can significantly reduce your risk of developing balanitis by making some simple changes to your hygienic routine.
-Gentle pull your foreskin back and wash your penis with warm water on a daily basis.
– Circumcision may be an option if your balanitis is recurring due to frequent bacterial, fungal infection, or diabetes. It never recommended as the first option. However, it will definitely help eliminate any issues that are being experienced.
-If you are on the heavier side, you may be advised to lose some weight.
– Keep your penis dry. Thoroughly dry your penis after urination, showers, and baths before putting on your underwear.
-Be sure to wash your hands if you work with harsh chemicals that can be potential irritants. You see the skin on your penis is more delicate than the skin on other areas.
-Use a condom every time you have sex with a new sexual partner. If you have sensitive skin, there are condoms that are specifically made to offset any discomfort you may have.
Our clinics are committed to improving men’s health. If you are experiencing any discomfort and believe that balanitis may be the problem, we encourage you to speak to us further.