- Take the Impotence (ED) Quiz
- Impotence Slideshow Pictures
- Unzip Your Sex Life
- Find a local Urologist in your town
- What disorders affect the penis?
- What is priapism?
- What causes priapism?
- How is priapism treated?
- What is Peyronie's disease?
- What causes Peyronie's disease?
- How is Peyronie's disease treated?
- What is balanitis?
- What causes balanitis?
- How is balanitis treated?
- What is phimosis?
- What causes phimosis?
- How is phimosis treated?
- What is paraphimosis?
- What causes paraphimosis?
- How is paraphimosis treated?
- What is penile cancer?
- What causes penile cancer?
- What are the symptoms of penile cancer?
- What treatments are given for penile cancer?
What is balanitis?
Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis. A similar condition, balanoposthitis, refers to inflammation of the head of the penis and the foreskin. Symptoms of balanitis include redness or swelling, itching, rash, pain and a foul-smelling discharge.
What causes balanitis?
Balanitis most often occurs in men and boys who have not been circumcised (had their foreskin surgically removed), and who have poor hygiene. Inflammation can occur if the sensitive skin under the foreskin is not washed regularly, allowing sweat, debris, dead skin and bacteria to collect under the foreskin and cause irritation. The presence of tight foreskin may make it difficult to keep this area clean and can lead to irritation by a foul-smelling substance (smegma) that can accumulate under the foreskin.
Other causes of balanitis may include:
- Dermatitis/Allergy: Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin, often caused by an irritating substance or a contact allergy. Sensitivity to chemicals in certain products -- such as soaps, detergents, perfumes and spermicides -- can cause an allergic reaction, including irritation, itching, and a rash.
- Infection: Infection with the yeast candida albicans (thrush) can result in an itchy, spotty rash. Certain sexually transmitted diseases -- including gonorrhea, herpes and syphilis -- can produce symptoms of balanitis.