Description, Causes and Risk Factors:


Balanitis is inflammation of the glans penis. The most common symptom of balanitis is a blotchy red rash, which may be itchy.

Balanitis can have both infectious and noninfectious causes. It is more common in patients with phimosis (the foreskin of the penis is too tight). Patients with diabetes mellitus are also susceptible to developing this disease.

Certain skin conditions may also cause balanitis, or be mistaken for this disease. For example, psoriasis and some uncommon skin conditions can affect the penis. Phimosis can also lead to balanitis. This is a condition where the foreskin does not retract over the glans. This is common in young boys. You are more likely to get a this disease if you have a phimosis, has sweat, debris and urine may collect under the foreskin. This can irritate directly, or can encourage germs to thrive and cause infection. Genital herpes, Chlamydia and syphilis may also increase the risk.

Balanitis can occur at any age, but is more likely to affect boys under four years of age, as well as adult males who have not been circumcised. It is a common condition affecting about 11% of male Genitourinary clinic attendees.


General symptoms may include:

    The area around the glans penis is red and inflamed.

  • Soreness and irritation of glans.

  • Under the foreskin there may be a lumpy, thick discharge.

  • Itchiness around the glans area.

  • An unpleasant smell.

  • Phimosis - the foreskin is tight and does not retract.

  • Painful urination.

  • The soreness, irritation and discharge under the foreskin typically occur two to three days after sexual intercourse.


The following investigations and flow chart are intended to aid diagnosis in cases ofuncertainty,

    Subpreputial swab for Candida and bacterial culture - should be undertakenin most cases to exclude an infective cause or superinfection of a skin lesion.

  • Urinalysis for glucose - appropriate in most cases but especially if Candidalinfection is suspected.

  • Culture for Herpes simplex - if ulceration present.

  • Dark ground examination for spirochetes and Syphilis serology - if an ulceris present.· Culture for Trichomonas vaginalis - particularly if a female partner has anundiagnosed vaginal discharge.

  • Screening for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - particularlyscreening for Chlamydia trachomatis infection/Non specific urethritis if acircinate-type balanitis is present.

  • Biopsy - if the diagnosis is uncertain and the condition persists.


The treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. The following are often given:

  • An anti-yeast cream or a course of anti-yeast tablets are a common treatment if the balanitis is caused by Candida.

  • A mild steroid cream to reduce inflammation is useful for balanitis caused by allergies or irritants. Sometimes a steroid cream is used in addition to anti-yeast or antibiotic medication to reduce inflammation caused by infection.

  • If you have recurring balanitis and have a phimosis, then your doctor will refer you for surgical options.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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