Balanitis (from the Greek βάλανος, «acorn», in relation to the form of the glans; and -itis, inflammation) is the inflammation of the penis glans. When the foreskin is also affected, it is called balanoposthitis. Although balanitis is often used to refer to both cases.
The symptoms include reddening of the foreskin or of the penis, sometimes with pain and foul-smelling discharge, the appearance of red sores in the glans, inability to pull-back the foreskin, and pain when urinating.
Balanitis may happen at any age, but it is more likely to affect boys younger than four years old, as well as adult men who have not undergone circumcision. Today, we will speak on balanitis in adult men.
Not exactly, although some of the symptoms of balanitis are similar to those of some sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Generally, balanitis is consequence of a local infection caused by bacteria and fungi, that may be transmitted sexually if the partner is infected. Remember: always use a condom!
There are other more common causes such as bad personal hygiene, injury, contact dermatitis, or allergies and systemic diseases, such as reactive arthritis, morbid obesity, and psoriasis.
Given the number of possible causes, the urologist must make a diagnosis and control in order to exclude vitally important injuries. The diagnosis is carried out with an anamnesis (an interview of the patient by the doctor) and a physical examination, although in cases where there is ulceration of the lesions, it is advised to have a bacterial culture taken for simple herpes, in addition to serology (a study that checks for antibodies in the blood) in order to rule out syphilis.
The treatment depends on its cause:
● Balanitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics (oral or topical).
● If it is due to a fungus like candida albicans, a frequent cause, treatment in the form of an antifungal cream is required, such as ketoconazole, miconazole, or oral antifungals, such as fluconazole.
● Corticosteroid cream may be prescribed (always under the prescription of a doctor) to reduce inflammation. It may be that, after a quick improvement, there may be the possibility that it will cause it to worsen.
● If the infections occur often, circumcision may be a solution, especially in cases of phimosis and paraphimosis. This is a surgical procedure that consists in cutting the skin of the foreskin, leaving the glans exposed. It is done with local anesthesia, lasts less than an hour, and does not require hospitalization with recovery in 8 to 10 days. In this way, the foreskin can be retracted in order to be cleaned. The main form of prevention is good hygiene and keeping the area clean and dr.
● If the inflammation is related with the use of a condom, we recommend using protection that is designed for sensitive skin.
Is it necessary to avoid sexual relations?
Although with the treatment it is not necessary to avoid sexual relations, they may cause greater irritation and inflammation of the affected zone. It is uncommon that the infection is transmitted in sexual relations, but if it happens, both should be treated at the same time. It is advisable to use condoms during this time, always, and when they are not the cause of balanitis, and if they are, use special condoms for sensitive skin.
January 9, 2019
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