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- What is balanitis (inflammation of the head of penis)?
- What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis? Is it painful?
- What causes balanitis?
- How is balanitis diagnosed?
- Which medications treat balanitis?
- Which home remedies or OTC medications soothe pain and treat balanitis?
- What is the prognosis for balanitis? Can it be cured?
- Can balanitis be prevented?
What is balanitis (inflammation of the head of penis)?
Balanitis is an inflammation of the skin of the head of penis (glans penis). If the foreskin is involved as well, it is referred to as balanoposthitis.
What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis? Is it painful?
Usually, most common signs and symptoms of balanitis are :
An odorous discharge can accompany these symptoms.
What causes balanitis?
- Balanitis is usually found in uncircumcised males. Poor hygiene can contribute when the area under the foreskin is not washed regularly and bacteria, skin, and sweat accumulate. Some underlying medical conditions can also increase the risk of balanitis, especially diabetes mellitus.
- Allergies to certain chemicals can cause an allergic balanitis. This could be chemicals in soaps or other products in touch with the glans of the penis.
- Certain infections (especially yeast infections) can cause a balanitis. Reactive arthritis (formerly Reiter syndrome) is associated with inflammation around the head of the penis (circinate balanitis).
- Balanitis is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD); however, it can have similar symptoms, for example, itching and redness).
How is balanitis diagnosed?
A health-care professional will usually be able to diagnose balanitis based on asking the patient questions (history) and physical examination. No additional tests are usually necessary. If a doctor suspects that the balanitis is caused by an underlying medical condition, the patient might require blood tests.
Which medications treat balanitis?
First, the underlying cause is determined and the treatment directed against the reason for the condition. If there is an infection, the appropriate antifungal medication can be used. If it is a hygiene issue, daily habits are changed. Young boys may require instruction on how to retract and clean their foreskin.
The optimal medications will depend on the underlying cause of the balanitis. For examples, topical antifungal cream if Candida infection is present, or an antibiotic if a cellulitis is suspected will be prescribed. In refractory or repeated situations, the doctor might suggest circumcision as a possible way to prevent further infections by eliminating the overlying foreskin.
Which home remedies or OTC medications soothe pain and treat balanitis?
Switching soaps or other possible offending irritants can be helpful. Other times, the doctor will prescribe oral or topical medications.
Can balanitis be prevented?
The risk of balanitis can be reduced with proper hygiene, but not all balanitis can be prevented depending on the underlying cause. Circumcision has been advocated as a way of preventing or reducing the risk of balanitis in patients who had multiple episodes.
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Fakjian N, Hunter S, Cole GW, Miller. An argument for circumcision. Prevention of balanitis in the adult. J. Arch Dermatol. 1990 Aug;126(8):1046-7.
Herzog LW, Alvarez SR. e frequency of foreskin problems in uncircumcised children. Am J Dis Child. 1986 Mar;140(3):254-6.
Balanitis - Cause
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Is Balanitis Contagious
Balanitis is a condition in which the head of the penis and/or foreskin that surrounds the head of an uncircumcised penis becomes inflamed. Balanitis is contagious if it is caused by certain bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Risk factors for balanitis are congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, morbid obesity, poor personal hygiene, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Signs and symptoms of balanitis are itching, swelling, redness, and tenderness around the head of the penis and the surrounding foreskin.
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Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)
Peyronie's disease or curvature of the penis (Peyronie disease) is a condition in which scar tissue develops inside the penis. This scar tissue causes the penis to develop an abnormal curvature in the scarred area. At this time, there is no known cause of Peyronie's disease. Symptoms of Peyronie's disease include pain during intercourse or ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), the inability to have sexual intercourse, anxiety, stress, an indentation of the shaft at the site where there is plaque or scarring, and an angulation of the penis when erect or flaccid.
There is no cure for Peyronie's disease, however, there are medications that can reduce symptoms of the disease. Surgery or penile implants may be an option for severe cases.
Phimosis and Paraphimosis (Penis Disorders)
Phimosis and paraphimosis are penis disorders.
- Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin can't retract behind the head of the penis. Symptoms can lead to swelling of the penis, or painful erection and urination.
- Paraphimosis is a condition that occurs when the foreskin is retracted behind the head of the penis and can't return to it's original position. Symptoms include pain and swelling of the penis.
You need to be treated by a doctor or other healthcare professional for these penis problems.
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Yeast Infection in Women and Men
Vaginal yeast infections in women are caused by an organism called Candida albicans. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include vaginal pain with urination, vaginal discharge, odor, and itching.
Treatment is generally OTC medications. A man can contract a yeast infection from his female sexual partner. Symptoms of a yeast infection in men include penile itching. Treatment is with oral or topical medication.