What Is Balanitis?
Balanitis is a medical condition in which there is swelling of foreskin or head of penis. Balanitis is quite a common condition and it is estimated that approximately 1 in every 20 males have this condition. Balanitis tends to occur usually in men who have not had a circumcision. This condition can be significantly painful but is quite harmless. Balanitis can be relieved using topical medications.
What Are The Causes Of Balanitis?
The root cause of Balanitis is not maintaining good hygiene of the penile area. Inadequate hygiene causes bacteria to infect the area causing infection, swelling, and pain. The foreskin is the perfect area for bacteria to grow. Some other causes of Balanitis may be any type of injury to the penis resulting in swelling of the penis. Another cause of Balanitis can be irritation which can be caused by not cleaning the penis properly after a shower, using inappropriate soaps to clean the area, using sprays and lotions to the penis. Some pain medications, tranquilizers, antibiotics have Balanitis in their side effect profile. Some of the rare causes of Balanitis are:
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Balanitis?
Some of the symptoms of Balanitis are:
- Tightness of the foreskin
- Penile discharge
- Itchiness in the genital area
- Pain in genital areas
- Pain with urination at times.
How Is Balanitis Diagnosed?
Balanitis is a medical condition which can be easily diagnosed by simple visualization of the affected area during physical examination. If the patient is experiencing penile discharge the treating physician may take a specimen of the discharge and send it to the laboratory for close analysis looking for any bacterial, viral, or fungal sources for the condition. The results of the culture can help in determining the exact cause of Balanitis. In case, if a cause is not identified then more investigative studies may be done to look for a definite cause for Balanitis. This may be done through a biopsy to look for a definitive cause for the disease.
What Are Treatments For Balanitis?
Before beginning treatment it is always advisable that the patient stops using soaps, lotions, or any type of powder to avoid irritating the area. Once the diagnosis of Balanitis has been confirmed the patient may be prescribed medications in the form of topical creams to use to help with the itching and to help with the inflammation. Some physicians may even suggest using over the counter anti-itch creams instead of prescribing a specific cream for treating Balanitis. If an infection to the area is detected, then the treating physician may prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition. In most of the cases once the infection is treated then the itching and discharge also stops on its own and no further treatment is required. In some cases, steroid creams may be prescribed to control the inflammation.
What Are The Complications Of Balanitis?
There are basically no complications due to Balanitis if the affected individual undergoes prompt treatment. If not, then the following complications may arise
- Scarring of the penis
- Pain with retraction of the foreskin
- Reduced blood supply to the penis
- Allergic dermatitis with symptoms like severe itching, development of rashes, hives, and inflammation of skin
- Inability to retract the foreskin causing a medical condition called phimosis.
What Are Some Ways Of Preventing Balanitis?
Some of the ways to prevent development of Balanitis are:
- Practicing decent hygiene
- Staying away from use of deodorants or perfumes in the penis
- Making sure that the penis becomes completely dry after taking a shower.
What Are Certain Home Remedies For Treating Balanitis?
There are certain home remedies which can also be helpful in treating Balanitis:
- Application of a layer of yogurt on the head of penis is quite helpful. This is done by pulling back the foreskin a bit and then applying yogurt such it spreads to the affected area adequately.
- One more way to help with the symptoms of Balanitis is put some salt in the bathtub before taking a bath
- Aloe vera gel has shown to be quite effective in treatment of Balanitis
- It has also been shown that garlic paste in diet or eating garlic helps with fungal infections which have caused Balanitis.