Balanitis is a common inflammatory condition in men caused due to infections, trauma and poor personal hygiene. The inflammation is caused on the head of the penis also called as the glans penis. The region of glans penis along with the foreskin becomes inflamed. This condition is rare among men who are circumcised. Many underlying infections induce the onset of balanitis. One of the most common causes of balanitis is poor personal hygiene. In this case a layer of creamy substance called smegma is formed under the foreskin causing balanitis. Men who are circumcised rarely suffer this condition.
Phemosis is a condition in which the foreskin cannot be retracted. This condition predominantly happens in boys at the age of four. The urine collecting under the foreskin along with debris may lead to balanitis.
Candidiasis is one of the major causes of balanitis. In most cases candida associated balanitis is caused because of trauma and it also referred as circinate balanitis.
Many other infectious organisms like Streptococcus.Sp, Staphylococcus aureus (Steven Johnson's syndrome) cause balanitis. Most of these organisms cause infections in uncircumcised persons who do not clean the glans penis region on a regular basis. Balanitis is also sexually transmitted. Men are generally advised to clean their genital areas after intercourse, to prevent balanitis. Balanitis is also caused because of certain soaps or disinfectants used in washing the glans region. In some cases, use of spermicides and lubricants present in the condoms can induce balanitis.
Balanitis symptoms begin with the appearance of rash on the glans region. In some cases these rashes progress into more predominant sores leading to discharge with odor. In these cases the region behind the glans penis is also affected. Other associated symptoms of balanitis include joint pains, malaise and soreness of the mouth. The classic clinical presentation of balanitis includes the presence of ulcerated glans tissue, edema, leukoplakia, exudation and also crusting. Untreated balanitis is often associated with the development of meatal stenosis and also malignancy leading to painful discharge and localized lymphadenopathy.
Risk Factors for Balanitis: The risk factors associated with the occurrence of balanitis includes diabetes and trauma. In case of diabetics who are uncircumcised, the urine droplet accumulation leads to serious infections along with balanitis. In some cases balanitis risk factor is also reported among sexual partners affected by vaginitis. The other factors include obesity, chemicals and reaction to certain group of drugs.
Treatment of Balanitis
Balanitis treatment is often associated with personal hygiene. Men who are uncircumcised and are prone to frequent episodes of balanitis are advised to wash and dry the glans penis region every day and especially after intercourse to prevent infections which may lead to balanitis. Diabetics are advised to keep a regular check on their sugar levels especially pertaining to urine sugar levels to prevent the onset of balanitis.
Antibiotics and steroidal creams are generally prescribed for this infection. In some cases ibuprofen and acetaminophen are given to relieve the pain. In case of recurrent balanitis, removal of foreskin (Circumcision) is suggested. Patients undergoing treatment are advised to abstain from sexual activity until the treatment is completed to prevent relapse.
Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 16, 2017