Skip to main content


Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2022.

What is balanoposthitis?

Balanoposthitis is an infection of the foreskin and the head of your penis. Balanoposthitis is common in uncircumcised men who do not practice good hygiene regularly. It can also happen in uncircumcised boys. Balanoposthitis may be caused by fungus, bacteria, or an STD. It may also be caused by an allergic reaction to latex, spermicides, and medicines such as antibiotics and steroids.

What are the symptoms of balanoposthitis?

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

How is balanoposthitis diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine your penis. He or she may be able to diagnose balanoposthitis by the exam. The provider may swab the area and check it under a microscope to find out the cause. He or she will instruct you how to clean your penis. Your provider may give you antibiotic or antifungal cream to put on the area after cleaning. You may also need to take oral antibiotic or antifungal medicines. These medicines help treat a bacterial or fungal infection. If you are diabetic, he or she will check to see if your blood sugar levels are under control. Uncircumcised men with diabetes out of control are at more risk for balanoposthitis. Your provider may also recommend circumcision.

How can I manage and prevent balanoposthitis?

  • 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:
    • Pull 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.
    • Replace foreskin.
  • Control your blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic. Follow your recommended diabetic management plan.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You cannot get your foreskin to move back into place.
  • You have trouble urinating.

When should I call my doctor?

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

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.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 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

Learn more about Balanoposthitis

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

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