Balanitis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 3/2/2021

Balanitis is inflammation of the skin of the head of the penis in males. Balanitis is most common in uncircumcised males. Balanitis is not considered to be a sexually transmitted disease. Some conditions such as diabetes increase the risk of developing balanitis.

Signs and symptoms associated with balanitis can include

  • pain and irritation on the glans (head of the penis),
  • redness or red patches on the penis,
  • itching under the foreskin,
  • swelling of the head of the penis,
  • areas of shiny or white skin on the penis,
  • painful urination, or a
  • foul-smelling discharge.

Causes of balanitis

Poor hygiene, genital yeast infection (candidiasis), or other infections can cause balanitis. Allergic reactions to certain chemicals can also cause balanitis.

Other balanitis symptoms and signs

  • Areas of Shiny or White Skin on the Penis
  • Foul-Smelling Discharge
  • Itching Under the Foreskin
  • Pain and Irritation on the Glans (Head of the Penis)
  • Painful Urination
  • Redness or Red Patches on the Penis
  • Swelling of the Head of the Penis


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.