Skip to Content




is inflammation and possible infection of the glans (head) of the penis. It may be caused by fungus, bacteria, or an STD. It may also be caused by an allergic reaction to latex, spermicides, medicines such as antibiotics, or soaps. Balanitis usually happens due to poor hygiene practices.

Symptoms of balanitis include:

  • Redness, swelling, and pain
  • Sores or red patches on the head of the penis
  • Bleeding from the penis
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Thick, leathery skin

Seek help immediately if:

  • You have trouble urinating.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • Your symptoms return after treatment is complete.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Sit in a sitz bath 2 to 3 times a day to reduce swelling:

  • Fill the bathtub 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) with clean warm water.
  • Sit in the water for about 20 minutes each time.

Clean the area every day:

  • Push back the foreskin before cleaning.
  • Use a cotton swab to clean between the foreskin and the glans.
  • Clean with water only. Do not use soap.
  • Dry the area well.
  • Pull the foreskin back into place.

Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes:

Follow your recommended diabetes management plan.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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 (Ambulatory Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.