Balanitis is an inflammation of the foreskin or the oval shaped head of the male reproductive organ is what is referred to as Balanitis. The problem affects a certain percentage of males and affected men usually visit sexual health clinics or urology clinics to seek treatment for the condition.
It usually occurs in uncircumcised men and is often characterized by pain but is usually not life threatening. To relieve pain associated with the condition topical medication is often used.
What is Balanitis caused by?
Some health professionals claim that it is caused due to poor hygiene. When the tip of an uncircumcised male sexual organ is not cleaned well, harmful bacteria will infest it leading to an infection. Usually the foreskin gives a safe haven for bacteria to grow and thrive.
When the tip of the male sexual organ or the foreskin gets hurt an inflammation may occur, leading to Balanitis. It has also been established that any irritation to the tip of the male sexual organ can also cause Balanitis. Irritation of uncircumcised male sexual organ can be caused by the following things:
- Use of scented soap to clean the organ.
- Not properly rinsing the organ of soap when bathing.
- Bathing with soap that dries the skin.
- Use of lotions that are scented on the organ.
Other studies also suggest that there are certain medications that also cause Balanitis such as antibiotics, certain types of painkillers, laxatives, and sleeping pills.
How is Balanitis Diagnosed?
Balanitis is often characterized by swelling and redness of the foreskin but the following signs also accompany it:
- A tightened foreskin.
- An itchy male reproductive organ.
- Pain in the genitals.
- Feeling of pain in the skin of the male reproductive organ.
- In certain circumstances the victim may experience painful urination.
Balanitis is usually physically diagnosed because most of its signs can be easily seen by the eyes. In cases where there is some form of discharge your doctor may also take samples of the discharge to take for tests. The discharge will then be tested for viral, bacterial, or fungal cells. The outcome of the tests is what will help the doctor find out what caused that specific Balanitis.
In cases where the signs are not easily visible, invasive tests for diagnosis may be conducted on you by your doctor. Tests like biopsy may need to be done to try and find out the cause.
Treatment for Balanitis
Once you have been diagnosed with Balanitis and its cause established your doctor will advise you to avoid using products that may serve to worsen your problem. You will be advised to avoid using perfumed lotions and soaps that will stop any further irritation to your foreskin.
Medicines used in Treating Balanitis
Your doctor will prescribe for you topical medicine in the form of creams that will help to stop the irritation, inflammation and itching. There are instances where your doctor may suggest for you an over the counter medicine in the form of cream that will also help to treat your Balanitis.
Where there is an infection your doctor will prescribe for you an antibiotic medicine that will remove it off your body. In cases where Balanitis was not that serious even with just the antibiotics the inflammation, itching, swelling, discharge, and pain will simply subside.
What are the Complications that may arise from Balanitis?
The best way a person can deal with Balanitis and reduce the chances of developing complications is to go for treatment as soon as possible. Below are some possible complications that may arise from Balanitis:
- The opening of the male reproductive organ may get scarred.
- Painful foreskin especially during retraction.
- Insufficient blood flow to the male organ.
- Allergic skin reaction.
When there is scarring on the tip of the male organ then urination may also become painful. There are instances when there is pain when a man attempts to retract the foreskin thus making it hard. This is what is referred to as Phimosis.
How to Prevent Balanitis?
There is a saying that goes that ‘prevention is better than cure’. Going by this saying it will only be wise to practice habits that prevent you from developing Balanitis if you are uncircumcised. Practicing proper hygiene especially on your genitals is paramount to avoid the possibility of getting Balanitis. It is also better not to use perfumed soaps or deodorized products on your male organ. This will help to ensure that you don’t suffer from Balanitis.
Because the foreskin is usually a good place where bacteria can easily thrive, drying it well after taking a shower is advised. But generally practicing good overall body hygiene is advised for your good health.