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Balanitis

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Balanitis is the inflammation of the glans penis (the head of the penis), it can happen to anyone assigned male at birth, but it is more common in uncircumcised males, and it is treatable.

Balanitis is caused by an infection, injury or allergic reaction and results in swelling and soreness of the glans penis; it isn’t severe but requires medical attention. Circumcision is a procedure done to remove the foreskin from the glans of the penis, but without circumcision, the foreskin remains and makes it more prone to infections. 

Causes

Fungal infection, like a yeast infection, is the most common cause of balanitis, but bacterial infections can also cause it. This infection usually occurs because of poor hygiene; the foreskin can trap moisture, and this is the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. 

Other possible causes include:

  • Injuries on the cap of the penis or foreskin.
  • Allergic reaction to latex condoms and spermicides.
  • Scabies, an infection caused by tiny mites.
  • Allergic reaction to certain medications such as pain meds and antibiotics. 
  • Certain medical conditions like reactive arthritis and diabetes
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like trichomoniasis, gonorrhoea, and syphilis.

Symptoms of Balanitis

Symptoms of this infection include:

  • Swelling.
  • Pain and irritation on the head of your penis.
  • A foul smell.
  • Discolouration or discoloured patches on your penis.
  • Sores or lesions on the glans of the penis.
  • Itching under your foreskin.
  • Areas of shiny or white skin on your penis.
  • Pain while urinating.
  • White discharge under the foreskin.

Treatment

The treatment options for this condition include:

  • Antibiotics if it is caused by bacteria infection.
  • Antifungal creams if yeast infection caused it.
  • Circumcision may be recommended for recurring cases of balanitis.
  • Good personal hygiene, including cleaning your penis more often, washing with water and drying under your foreskin to reduce risks of balanitis. Do not overwash your penis with harsh soups. 
  • Diabetes management for people who have diabetes and balanitis. 
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