A Complete Overview of Balanitis – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and More

by Nick Swanson

Complete Overview Of Balanitis
The penis is often considered to be one of the most magnificent parts of the male body. This male sexual organ plays more than one role, and is also an essential part of sexual intercourse, as well as reproduction.

During sexual intercourse, a man penetrates a woman with his penis, and sperm is ejaculated into the woman. This is how reproduction starts, and without a penis that is in good shape and able to become erect, this entire process would not be possible – at least not in a natural manner.

For this reason, it is essential for a man to take care of his penis, frequently inspecting his manhood and to become concerned about any changes that may be noted. In such a case, obtaining a physical examination should be an important step, since problems can often be avoided or more successfully treated when they are detected at an early stage.

There are numerous problems that may arise with the male penis. While some of these problems can be completely harmless and only last for an insignificant amount of time, it is important for men to realize the fact that there are some more serious conditions that may affect the penis and, left untreated, such a condition can wreak havoc on their sex lives and even cause them to lose some functionality of their penis.

Learning more about the various conditions that can affect the penis, and becoming more aware of the symptoms that should not go unnoticed, often helps men avoid detrimental problems.

While we often read about articles that explains how erectile dysfunction causes a man to experience a significant amount of problems in his sex life, and how a complete loss of erectile function can be hazardous to his relationship, many fail to realize the fact that there are many other conditions that can also affect the male penis.

In this post, we would like to look past the common sexual dysfunctions that are usually discussed when it comes to male sexual wellbeing, and rather take a look at a condition that affects the skin of the penis.

The condition we are going to discuss in this post is known as Balanitis, and can range in severity from mild to serious; thus making it important for every man to know about the condition.

Penis 10 Things Info


What is the Importance of the Male Penis?

While we would like to discuss a particular condition that affects the skin of the male penis in this condition, we thought it would be a good idea to start off by looking at the importance of the penis – not only during sexual intercourse, but also throughout a man’s everyday life.

The penis is the male sex organ that allows a man to have sexual intercourse, this is well-known amongst all adults throughout the entire world. During puberty, the male penis grows in size, the testicles descend into the scrotum bag, hair starts to grow more rapidly on a man’s body and he starts to experience what an erection is.

While sexual intercourse is the most common function associated with the penis, it should be noted that the fact that the penis is responsible for allowing urine to be expelled from the body plays just as significant of a role.

Health24[1] explains that the penis is connected to the urethra, which provides two essential functions – the first being the function of expelling semen from the body during sexual stimulation, be it through masturbation or sexual intercourse, and the second being to excrete urine from the body, which is a waste product in the form of a liquid.

Expelling urine from the body is an important function that helps to eliminate toxins and pathogens from the body.


What is Balanitis?

Balanitis Overview
Now that we have briefly discussed the two primary functions of the penis, let’s get started with our overview of Balanitis. As we have already mentioned previously in our post, Balanitis is a condition that has a direct effect on the penis, and this condition is not classified as a sexual dysfunction.

While the symptoms that are caused by Balanitis may cause sexual intercourse to become uncomfortable or perhaps even somewhat painful, the condition itself does not impair a man’s ability to participate in sexual activities with himself or with a partner.

Patient.info[2] explains that Balanitis is a condition that refers to inflammation that occurs in the penis glans, which is the end part of the penis. In addition to affecting this particular part of the penis, a lot of men also find that their foreskin is also affected when they develop Balanitis; thus causing inflammation to occur in their foreskin as well.
It should be noted that this only applies to men who still have a foreskin. The condition is actually quite common and is known to affect men of all ages, although certain trends have suggested that some men are more likely to be affected than others.

Balanitis is usually not a serious condition and can often be easily managed without any invasive treatment options being administered to a man who has been diagnosed with the condition.

The inflammation often tends to clear up relatively quickly once treatment is being administered, and, in most cases, the outlook is good. Let’s consider some important factors that men should know about this condition, including what it may be caused by, what symptoms it may produce, how it can be treated and more.


What are the Risk Factors and Causes of Balanitis?

Causes of Balanitis
Let’s start out by looking at the particular causes of balanitis, as well as potential risk factors that might make a man more likely to develop this condition. Healthline[3] explains that one of the most significant contributing factors to balanitis is the presence of a foreskin.

Thus, individuals who still have a foreskin and who has not undergone a circumcision are at a much higher risk of developing this particular condition that those who had a circumcision.

Hygiene is often dubbed as the number one cause of balanitis, which explains why a man with a foreskin that is still intact is at a higher risk of obtaining this disease. It is well-known that the area that is covered by the foreskin is more prone to developing certain conditions, especially those that affect the penis’s skin, such as balanitis.

In addition to poor hygiene and having a foreskin being major risk factors for this condition, numerous other issues can also affect a person’s risk of developing balanitis and experiencing inflammation in the head of their penis. Let’s consider some of these potential risk factors and causes:

  • While poor hygiene causes a significant increase in the risk of balanitis, as previously discussed, it should also be noted that overcleaning can also lead to the development of symptoms associated with this condition.
    This can lead to skin irritation, as well as many other problems, and ultimately cause a man to develop this skin-related condition.
  • Irritation is another factor that is known to greatly contribute to balanitis. As mentioned, overcleaning can often cause the skin of the penis, as well as the penis glans, to become irritated.

Other factors can also irritate these particular areas of the penis. Some examples include using a soap that contains scents, or applying a scented lotion to the penis. Bar soaps are also known to dry out the skin; thus increasing the risk of skin irritation and balanitis.

  • When the head of the penis, or the penis glans, become injured, the complication may present itself in inflammation and other symptoms related to balanitis.
  • There are many cases where balanitis is caused by yeast or bacteria. In these cases, there is an overgrowth of these microorganisms on the skin of the man’s penis; thus causing the area to become inflamed.
  • Some pharmaceutical drugs also contribute to an increased risk of balanitis. Examples of such drugs include certain types of antibiotics, painkillers, sleeping pills and a variety of laxatives.
  • In some cases, a disease may contribute to this condition. Uncontrolled diabetes and reactive arthritis are two particular diseases that have been proven to add to the risk factors of developing balanitis.
  • In addition to the potential causes mentioned above, we also need to mention that some sexually transmitted infections, or STIs for short, can cause balanitis as well. Examples of such STIs include gonorrhea, trichomonas and syphilis.

What Symptoms to Look Out For?

Balanitis Causes
The most common symptoms that balanitis causes are the particular symptom that doctors often describe the condition by – which is an inflammation of the foreskin and the penis glans, which is the top part of the penis.

While this is the most commonly associated symptom of balanitis, we would like our readers to take note that other symptoms may also be present at the same time, and can sometimes make the condition even more uncomfortable.

Due to the effects that balanitis has on the penis, pain is something that may also be experienced together with the swelling – this is a relatively common symptom that men with balanitis experiences.

Apart from these symptoms, Medical News Today[4] explains that many other symptoms may also be present when a man develops balanitis. Here is an overview of the particular symptoms that men should look out for, and take note of as these symptoms may signal the presence of this particular condition.

  • Pain may be experienced while urinating.
  • The penis, particularly the affected part, may give off a smell that is unpleasant.
  • The glands that are located near the patient’s penis may become inflamed.
  • The glans may change to a reddish color – this color may be present around the entire glans.
  • The glans may feel tight and have a shiny appearance.
  • The foreskin may also become tight to the point where it the man is unable to pull it back.
  • In addition to the inflammation, which is the most common symptom of balanitis, it is also not uncommon for a man to experience irritation and itchiness in the affected area.

How Balanitis Diagnosed is by a Healthcare Professional?

Diagnosis of Balanitis
The diagnosis of balanitis is a vital part of the treatment process, since it is not treated in the same way amongst all patients. When a man suffers from the symptoms that are associated with this condition, then a healthcare professional will start off by inspecting the affected area.

This inspection will allow them to gain a better idea of whether balanitis may be the condition that is causing the symptoms experienced by the patient, and will also help them determine the severity of the condition. Since balanitis can be caused by numerous factors, the diagnosis of the condition is not always a quick, easy and simple process.

A healthcare provider will often require additional tests to be done in order to determine the specific cause of a patient’s balanitis. This is important since different causes need to be treated differently.

Not all treatment options that can be administered to the male patient will react the same – each treatment plan needs to be specifically adjusted to target the particular problem that has caused the developments of the symptom a patient is suffering from.
Popular tests include a urine test, should the healthcare provider suspect that the patient may also have diabetes. A blood test may also be taken in order to test the patient’s glucose levels in his bloodstream.

Should the doctor suspect that the condition may be caused by an infection of some kind, then a swab may be taken from the area that is affected, which would be the glans of the patient’s penis, and sent to a laboratory to determine whether it is an infection and, if it is an infection, what type of infection is causing the symptoms. In some rare cases, a biopsy may also be taken and sent to a laboratory to have it tested.


What are the Treatment Options for Balanitis?

Treatment for Balanitis
There are quite a large variety of treatment options that may be administered to a patient after they have been diagnosed with balanitis. As we explained already, the diagnosis of the condition serves as one of the most important steps that need to be taken before treatment can be implemented.

Once diagnosed with the condition, a healthcare provider will usually discuss the condition with the patient and advise him to avoid certain types of irritants, which may be contributing to his symptoms, and to practice proper hygiene in the affected area.

This is often the first line of treatment and further options are often only considered should these options not seem to produce any effective results.

The next step is to determine what is causing the symptoms, and then to provide appropriate treatment options for the man to counteract the causes. Three particular treatment options have become quite popular:

  • When an allergic reaction is causing the symptoms of balanitis in a patient, then a healthcare professional will usually prescribe a steroid cream for the patient. Such a steroid cream usually contains hydrocortisone, and should be applied directly to the area that has been affected. The cream will help to reduce swelling.
  • If a yeast infection is to blame for the symptoms, then a healthcare professional will usually prescribe the patient an antifungal ointment that needs to be applied directly to the penis’s gland, as well as to the foreskin should it also be affected. Note that when a yeast infection is causing the symptoms, a healthcare professional also needs to treat the sex partner of the patient as yeast infections are known to spread from one person to another.
  • There are some cases where bacterial infections are causing symptoms that lead to the diagnosis of balanitis. In these cases, an antibiotic will usually be prescribed to the patient. Popular choices for antibiotics used to kill off such a bacterial infection include erythromycin and penicillin.

According to the NHS Choices[5], there are some cases where a healthcare provider may advise the male patient undergo a circumcision. This is especially the case when the symptoms of balanitis seem to recur frequently.


What are the Potential Complications of Balanitis?

Potential Complications of Balanitis
Fortunately, balanitis is not considered to be a serious condition. The treatment for balanitis is easy and usually starts to take effect within a short while after the first dose has been administered, or shortly after appropriate lifestyle changes have been applied.

We should, however, mention that there have been cases where complications developed amongst patients diagnosed with balanitis. Complications are most often observed amongst patients who waited too long for seeking the assistance of a medical professional to examine their condition.

Possible complications that may occur when balanitis is not adequately treated or when treatment is not administered at an early stage may include permanent scarring of the tissue found at the penis’s opening, which is the particular area that is affected by balanitis in most cases.

Blood supply to the penis can also be altered when balanitis becomes more serious and is left untreated. It should be noted that another complication may include a foreskin that is painful to retract, but this is usually only a complication when balanitis has been present for a relatively long duration of time.


What are the Prevention Methods for Balanitis?

Even though balanitis most often not a serious condition and can be easily treated, it can still be uncomfortable, painful and even embarrassing for a man. Thus, prevention is the best way to keep a man from having to go through the symptoms and complications that he may suffer should he develop the condition.

There are numerous ways to prevent the development of balanitis. Since a foreskin poses the most significant risk, a circumcision is often noted as one of the most effective methods for preventing balanitis, but this is certainly not a preference amongst the majority of men who suffer from the condition.

Practicing good hygiene, such as properly washing, rinsing and drying the head of the penis, is an excellent way to prevent balanitis. In men who are uncircumcised, it is also important to pull the foreskin back before washing, as well as during rinsing and drying. The glans should also be kept dry at all times.

Since irritants also play a part in causing balanitis, avoiding certain irritants can also help to prevent the condition. Men with sensitive skin can opt for special types of lubricants and condoms. Underwear can also be washed with a non-biological type of washing powder, and it should become a habit for a man to wash their hands frequently, especially when working with chemicals.


The Outlook For Patients Diagnosed With Balanitis

Diagnosed With Balanitis
The fact that balanitis is not a deadly disease like cancer or diabetes usually means that the outcome for men diagnosed with the condition is positive. When the symptoms are noticed and the condition is diagnosed early, treatment is usually very successful and takes care of the problem in a very short period of time.

Unfortunately, should the condition not be treated in a timely manner, then the outlook may not be as positive for some men. As noted earlier, tissue damage may occur, as well as restricted blood flow. When blood flow becomes restricted, it may have an effect on the man’s erectile quality and firmness; thus leading to issues with his sex life.

For this reason, always implement the preventative methods, learn about the symptoms and regularly check up on your manhood to ensure everything is working and looking good.

Read Next: The #3 Ways to Improve Penis Blood Flow


Final Words

The male penis is often discussed in terms of sexual intercourse; thus it is quite common to find details about erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation and a low sex drive in men on the internet, as well as in local publications.

What many of these publications fail to attend to, is the particular conditions that can affect the penis that is not considered an actual sexual dysfunction. There are many other conditions, diseases and ailments that can affect the male penis, and becoming aware of these conditions is important for men who wish to keep their penis healthy and functioning adequately.

Early detection of the symptoms associated with such conditions can help a man undergo diagnosis and treated for an ailment that could have been much worse should it have only been detected at a later stage.

In this article, we offered a complete overview of Balanitis. This condition affects the skin of the male penis, and can cause a variety of symptoms. Balanitis has several risk factors and potential causes, and can often be treated successfully with non-invasive treatment options.

We provided an overview of the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment options for this condition, as well as looked at how the condition can be prevented and what outcome a man should expect when detecting the development of Balanitis and obtaining treatment for the condition.

References

Image Credits
Feature Image: Shutterstock.com
In-Post Image: Shutterstock.com & feroniaproject.org