Do you know about Balanitis? If not, balanitis is the inflammation of the penis head and foreskin. Young boys and uncircumcised men are at a higher risk, though it can happen at any age. The condition is not fatal but can be uncomfortable or painful sometimes.
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Women too can suffer the same but here we will only consider talking about the glans of the penis. Besides, one can get a topical medication for relieving.
Redness and swelling can be major symptoms. Where other possible symptoms of balanitis may include;
1. Tight and shiny skin on the glans
2. Unpleasant smell
3. Soreness, puffiness, itchiness, or irritation of the glans
4. A thick and lumpy discharge under the foreskin
5. Pain while urinating
6.Swollen glands near the penis
Types of Balanitis:
It is of three types. The three types include;
1. Zoon balanitis: This is a type wherein, there is inflammation in the head of the penis. Middle-aged to older men who are uncircumcised are usually affected.
2. Circinate balanitis: Circinate occurs due to reactive arthritis.
3. Pseudoepitheliomatous, keratotic, and micaceous balanitis: This is a rare type, which involves the skin of the glans that occurs in older men mostly those who undergo circumcision late in life.
Causes of Balanitis:
Talking about the causes, several conditions may lead to balanitis. But the most common condition is Candida albicans. Where other causes are;
1. Overgrowing bacteria or yeast.
3. Various skin conditions such as Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Eczema, Lichen planus, etc.
4. Irritants can lead to inflammation in the glans of the penis. Irritants such as chemicals used in condoms, lubricants, perfumed soaps, and shower gels.
6. Phimosis which is facing a situation of tight foreskin
7. Maintaining poor hygiene
8. Practicing unsafe sex
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Diagnosis of Balanitis:
The doctor might advise you on a series of “do” and “don’t”. If the condition remains unresolved the doctor will recommend some tests. Most of the time, the condition has visible symptoms so the diagnosis can be done by physical examination or tests. The test may include;
- A swab from the gland for testing infection
- Urine test or serum glucose test
- Test to look for any sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Some test to look out for medical conditions that might be causing balanitis
In rare cases, the doctor may perform a biopsy, where the cause is related to a chronic skin condition. For performing the test, in the form of a sample- a small piece of tissue will be removed from the inflamed area.
Treatments of Balanitis:
So far, the condition is a concern the treatment requires the doctor’s recommendation to straighten out the disorder or infection. Usually, the doctor will prescribe cream ointment and medication. You doctor might recommend you;
- anti-itch cream
- antibiotic or antifungal cream or medication for treating bacterial infection and yeast infection(as fungus might be the cause) respectively.
- steroids to reduce inflammation
- you can also get help from some OTC medications such as topical steroids
It is better, not to use OTC medication for a longer period. Get help from a doctor, make sure you do not have any serious complication.
Know the Complications of Balanitis:
Though the treatment is not difficult, serious complications may occur if not treated on time.
The probable complication of balanitis include;
- Scarring penis due to opening
- Improper supply of blood to the penis
- Notable pain in the foreskin while retraction
Further, complications that are associated with the condition are- pain, ulcerative wound in the glans, phimosis, paraphimosis, etc.
Finally yet importantly- “prevention is better than cure.” Prevent the condition by avoiding the use of products that have components like perfume and deodorant. Make sure that the penis is completely dry after you take shower. Ensure the cleanliness of your private parts putting extra effort is not bad if it prevents you from serious problems. Further, if you notice any symptoms consult a doctor.
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