Medical Definition of Balanitis, circinate

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Balanitis, circinate: A form of skin inflammation around the penis in males with Reiter's syndrome. The skin around the shaft and tip (glans) penis can become inflamed and scale. This inflammation around the penis can be helped by cortisone creams (such as TOPICORT).

Reiter's syndrome is a systemic rheumatic disease, systemic since it can affect the system (the body) far from the joints and cause inflammation in areas such as the eyes, mouth, lungs, kidneys, heart, and skin.

The classic areas of the skin that can become involved with Reiter's syndrome are the palms of the hands and soles of the feet (although other body surface areas can less commonly be affected). Inflammation in these areas can come and go. When present, it causes reddish, raised, pustules that can be painful and tender. These patchy areas can group together and peel periodically. This skin inflammation (which is microscopically similar to another skin disease called pustular psoriasis) is also referred to as keratodermia blennorrhagicum (KB).

KB can be treated with topical medications. These include skin softeners (emollients), and medications that clear off the peeling dry skin (keratolytic medications). Sometimes these treatments are used along with vitamin D creams, such as calcipotriene.

It is important to note that sometimes emotional stresses and medications (such as propanolol, VASOTEC, and hydroxychloroquine/PLAQUENIL) have been reported to aggravate the skin inflammation including the circinate balanitis in Reiter's syndrome.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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