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What to Do If You Have Balanitis
What is Balanitis?
Balanitis is an inflammation that occurs on the skin at the head of the penis (the glans). Persistent inflammation of the foreskin or prepuce in uncircumcised men goes by the name of Balanoposthitis.
What Causes Balanitis?
The causes of balanitis can stem from several different conditions.
Poor hygiene around the head of the penis area coupled with a tight foreskin can cause irritation by smegma. Smegma, the most common cause of balanitis, is a cheesy-like substance that develops under the foreskin of the glans when it lacks good hygiene.
Small numbers of bacteria or candida live on the skin, but it causes an infection leading to one of the causes of balanitis when it multiplies. Yeast infection or candida is a common infection that causes thrush. When balanitis keeps recurring, it may be due to a yeast infection transmitted between partners during sexual contact.
The most common underlying condition linked to balanitis is diabetes because of uncontrolled blood sugar, reducing the body’s immunity. Drops of urine containing sugar remain behind the foreskin allowing germs to multiply quickly, causing an infection.
Certain skin conditions such as psoriasis or phimosis may cause or pass for balanitis. Phimosis is a skin condition where the foreskin does not easily retract over the glans, thus accumulating sweat, debris, and urine, possibly leading to an infection. This is most prevalent in young boys.
Some sexually transmitted infections can occasionally cause balanitis even though it is not an STI. These STIs include genital herpes, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, and they almost always have a discharge of some kind. Usually, a doctor tests the sample from ant discharge to test for any STI.
The skin of the glans is extremely sensitive. It may become inflamed if it comes into contact with various chemicals or other substances such as certain soaps, latex condoms, lubricants, spermicides, and fabric conditioners.
Symptoms of Balanitis
A doctor can easily diagnose balanitis by observing some symptoms, including the redness and inflamed look of glans plus a blotchy rash on the penis’ head. Another symptom of balanitis is the presence of a whitish discharge or an itchy penis. In most cases, a Balanitis patient may experience difficulty and or pain in retracting the foreskin.
Who gets Balanitis?
The condition has a higher chance of occurring in young males and some uncircumcised men. Generally, young males with a tight, narrow foreskin covering the glans are the most affected.
Types of Balanitis Affecting the Head of The Penis
There are 3 primary types of balanitis. Each type occurs in men who have other existing conditions or ages. The three types include:
- Zoon’s balanitis is the most prevalent type. It can cause redness and pain in the head of the penis.
- Circinate Balanitis is more prone in men with reactive arthritis. This type of balanitis can cause smell sores to develop on the head of the penis.
- Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis is the rarest type of balanitis. It only affects elderly uncircumcised males over 60. The symptom of this type of balanitis is scaly warts growing on the head of the penis.
Research on health information reveals that nearly one in 25 boys and young men get balanitis at some point in their lives. Being uncircumcised raises the risk of getting balanitis.
Treatment - What to do if you have Balanitis?
The course of treatment depends on the cause of the infection and may require a combination of self-care measures with medical advice to ensure proper healing:
- Use a moisturizing cream or an emollient to clean the penis.
- Use lukewarm water only to clean the penis and then dry the foreskin gently.
- When infection is present, the use of a salt bubble bath can soothe the penis.
However, treating balanitis is mostly about eradicating the causes behind the infection.
- Antifungal creams: Doctors prescribe these creams, such as the clotrimazole cream, for treatment of treat of yeast infections that cause balanitis.
- Antibiotics: These are ideal for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases causing balanitis. The antibiotic will depend on the nature of the infection. The doctor will most likely prescribe a cream or tablet.
- Diabetes management: Properly controlling blood sugar levels will strengthen the body’s immunity. A doctor will help provide measures on managing the sugar levels in case of recurring symptoms of balanitis.
- A mild steroid cream: It reduces inflammation in the balanitis caused by allergies or irritants. Sometimes this cream is used plus anti-yeast or antibiotic medication to reduce inflammation caused by infection. However, in case of inflammation or infection of the end of the penis’ head, a doctor would not prescribe this cream should not be used alone, as steroids can make the infection worse.
- Circumcision: In the case of recurring symptoms of balanitis, circumcision is best recommended especially for males with a tight foreskin.
There are a few recommendations of what not to do when you already have a balanitis infection including
- Having sexual intercourse can aggravate the symptoms of balanitis and cause further damage to the sensitive infected glans or foreskin.
- Using harsh or any type of cream, soaps, and lotions can make also make the symptoms of balanitis worse.
There are several foods that we can eat to help in the treatment of the infections causing balanitis. These foods boost our immune and balance the bacteria already present on the glans.
- Yogurt: It is a natural probiotic. Adding yogurt with live bacteria to our diet promotes good germs growth, which fights infections such as candida or thrush.
- Garlic: Known for its antibacterial plus antifungal uses, incorporating garlic into our diet can help balance the bacteria causing yeast infections that lead to balanitis.
- Apple cider vinegar: it acts as an antifungal against the Candida species of yeast. It can be sour and acidic, and it is recommended to either mix it with a little bit of water or drink it with a straw. Its side effect can be stomach irritation.
In Malaysia, religion is the main driving factor behind circumcision in Muslims. Circumcision in Malaysia is done on teenage boys or men as a traditional rite of passage.
The most effective cure for balanitis is, without a doubt, circumcision as previously mentioned above. With the advance in medicine and medical procedure, circumcision technology has not been left behind. Currently, the climax of circumcision techniques is the ZSR Stapler Circumcision (or Zsr Circumcision) which uses the most advanced technology to provide an easy, accurate, and reliable procedure for the operator plus the patient.
ZSR helps the doctor achieve precision during the process since it measures the specific size of the foreskin that can come off. It also includes advanced methods and products to control bleeding plus healing. Balanitis patience can benefit from ZSR circumcision, and good hygiene as the foreskin where germs hide and grow is removed, preventing the infection’s recurrence.
In summary, the risk of getting balanitis decreases with good hygiene. Many men affected by balanitis can recover with treatment, and all patients can perform circumcision to reduce risks.