What causes balanitis?
Balanitis is an inflammation (painful swelling) of the glans (head) and foreskin of the penis.
What causes balanitis?
Germs usually cause balanitis. Skin conditions such as psoriasis may also cause balanitis. The following may trigger the inflammation:
- Poor hygiene (cleanliness) of the foreskin.
- Urinary catheter (a tube that drains urine from body).
- An allergy to condoms or certain medicines, such as spermicide.
- Injury to the penis.
What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis?
- Tight, shiny skin on the head of your penis.
- Redness, pain, and swelling on the head and foreskin of your penis. You may see fluid or other discharge.
- Sores on the head and foreskin of your penis.
- Swollen glands near your groin (the area between your hips and upper legs).
- Painful urination, or you cannot urinate.
How is balanitis diagnosed?
Your caregiver will look at your penis and ask about your symptoms. You may also need the following:
- Skin sample. Your caregiver gently scrapes a sample from your infected skin. This is done to see which germs are causing your balanitis.
- Urine test. You may need to urinate into a cup. This test is done to check for germs or sugar in your urine.
- Blood tests. You may need blood taken for tests. Blood tests may show your caregiver what germs are causing your balanitis. You may need to have blood drawn more than once.
How is balanitis treated?
- Oral medicines: This medicine will help fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria or a fungus. Take all of this medicine as directed, even if you feel better.
- Topical medicines: You may need medicine to rub on the infected skin several times a day. Use topical medicine as directed.
- Careful cleaning: Gently push back the foreskin 2 to 3 times a day and wash the infected area well with soap and water. If you have a catheter, ask how to keep it clean.
- Sitz baths: A sitz bath may help decrease pain, redness, and swelling. A sitz bath is a pan that fits over the toilet bowl. Fill the pan with warm water and sit in the pan. Ask how long and how often you should take sitz baths. If you take a tub bath, put dry oatmeal in the water to help soothe your skin.
What are the risks of balanitis?
You may not be able to urinate. If you cannot urinate, you may need a catheter until the infection goes away. Without treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of your body. Circumcision (foreskin removal) may be needed if balanitis keeps coming back.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- You have a fever.
- You have pain when urinating, or you are not able to urinate.
- You have concerns and questions about your condition or care.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Balanitis
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