An Overview

Balanitis is soreness and redness in the head of your penis. It can make you uncomfortable in one of the most sensitive areas: the end of your penis and the loose flap of skin that covers the tip. It can be treated, and it’s often easy to prevent.

Balanitis is a treatable condition that most commonly happens in uncircumcised males. The main symptoms of balanitis include inflammation and pain on the head of the penis. Treatment often includes antifungal creams, antibiotics, improved personal hygiene and in some cases, circumcision.

Types of Balanitis

There are three types of balanitis. They show up in different ways:
• Zoon’s balanitis is the most common type. It causes a red, painful penis head. This is the kind people usually mean when they talk about balanitis.
• Circinate balanitis may happen in men with reactive arthritis, a type of arthritis caused by an infection. You get sores on the head of your penis alongside the redness and swelling when you have this type.
• Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis is rare and affects only men over 60. It causes scaly warts on the head of the penis.

Symptoms for Balanitis

Skin folds can trap dead cells, discharge, and oils. If you don’t wash regularly, this debris can build up and form smegma, which smells bad.
If it gets worse, it can start to hurt when you pee or cause problems with your sex life. You might not be able to get an erection.
Swelling and redness of the foreskin may indicate balanitis. Other symptoms may include:
• Tightened foreskin
• Discharge
• Itchy genitals
• Itching
• Discharge in the tip of your penis
• Pain in the genital area
• Painful skin on the penis
• White, shiny skin on your penis
• Swelling
• An unpleasant smell
• Sores on the penis
• Bleeding around your foreskin
• Trouble pulling back your foreskin (Remember that it’s normal for young children to have a tight foreskin)

Swelling of your penis tip can put pressure on your urethra. This can cause painful urination.

Causes of Balanitis

Balanitis is inflammation typically caused by infections or chronic skin conditions. Improper hygiene can contribute to skin irritation. Both inadequate cleansing and too much cleansing can add to this problem. The condition is often caused by an overgrowth of either bacteria or yeast. The foreskin of the penis is an ideal place for these organisms to grow because it can trap moisture around the penis head.

If you don’t keep that area clean, you raise your chances of getting the infection. Use a mild soap, because harsh chemicals can irritate the skin on your penis and trigger balanitis, too. It can also happen if your diabetes isn’t under control or as a side effect of certain drugs prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes. For example, if you take dapagliflozin (Farxiga), you’re more likely to get balanitis, because the drug works by flushing sugar out of your body in your urine.

• Not rinsing soap completely off of your penis after showering
• The penis is a sensitive part of a man’s body. It can become inflamed if it comes in contact with an irritant or chemical. Using soaps loaded with chemicals, or using scented moisturisers and sprays can lead to severe irritation in your penis. The lubricant in condoms can also lead to irritation.
• Using scented soaps to clean your penis
• Using bar soap that dries out the skin
• It can also be caused by a type of arthritis known as reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome, which can affect your joints and eyes.
• Some medications can cause allergic reactions that can lead to balanitis, including tetracycline andaspirin-type medicines.
• You’re also more likely to get the infection if you’re overweight or have a condition that makes your body retain water, such as heart, liver, or kidney disease.
• Using scented lotions or sprays on your penis
• Reactive arthritis
• Poor Hygiene. One of the most common causes of balanitis is irregular hygiene, as it promotes skin irritation in men. As penis inflammation is caused by an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, good hygiene plays a pivotal role.
• Uncontrolled diabetes
• Sexually transmitted infections like syphills, trichomonas and gonorrhea


Healthcare providers diagnose balanitis with a physical examination to determine if an infection is causing your symptoms. Your provider may swab your urethral opening (the hole at the tip of the penis) and send the sample to a lab for testing.
• Serum glucose test (to screen for diabetes)
• Lab tests of any discharge
• Tests to see if you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
• Tests for the medical conditions that cause balanitis


Your treatment will depend on what set off the balanitis. The prescription usually comes as a cream or ointment. Your doctor might prescribe:
• Antibiotics for bacterial balanitis (It comes as a pill or a cream.)
• Antifungal cream, if the condition was from candida yeast
• Steroid creams that can relieve balanitis caused by skin disease or an

Allergic reaction

To help with swelling, you can soak your penis in a sitz bath, a shallow warm bath you can sit in


After a diagnosis, your doctor will likely prescribe a medicated anti-itch cream. This cream helps stop itching and inflammation.
If you have an infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication to help clear it.


Bathe daily

Make sure to clean your penis every day, especially after sexual intercourse or exercise. Pulling your foreskin back is essential to clean underneath.

Use bland soaps

Avoid using scented soaps as they can lead to irritation. Instead, make bland soaps your new friend.

Staying dry can help

Drying the area under the foreskin after urinating is vital. It ensures that your urine doesn’t get trapped under the foreskin.


In the case of balanitis, taking timely action is a must. If it doesn’t get addressed for an extended period, it can be a cause of concern. The great thing is that the majority of the balanitis cases get cured with improved hygiene. Just by avoiding scented soaps and lotions and keeping your penis clean, you can resolve this issue.

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