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What is balanitis?

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans (head) of the penis. It is usually caused by bacteria or a fungus.

What increases my risk for balanitis?

  • Presence of foreskin
  • Obesity
  • Poor hygiene
  • A urinary catheter
  • Diabetes
  • An allergy to condoms or certain medicines, such as spermicide

What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis?

  • Tight, shiny skin on the head of your penis
  • Redness, pain, and swelling on the head of your penis
  • Fluid or pus coming from your penis
  • Painful urination or not being able to urinate
  • Swollen glands near your groin
  • Sores on the head of your penis

How is balanitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your penis and ask about your symptoms. You may also need the following:

  • Blood and urine tests may show what germs are causing your balanitis.
  • A skin sample is gently scraped from the infected area. This is sent to a lab and tested for germs that may be causing your balanitis.

How is balanitis treated?

You may need medicine to help fight the infection. This medicine may be given as a pill or a cream.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Clean your penis carefully. 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.
  • Take a sitz bath. Fill a bathtub with 4 to 6 inches of warm water. You may also use a sitz bath pan that fits over a toilet. Sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes. Do this 2 to 3 times a day, or as directed. The warm water can help decrease pain and swelling. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain when you urinate.
  • Your symptoms return.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You are not able to urinate.

Care Agreement

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

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

Learn more about Balanitis

Symptoms and treatments