Balanitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the glans, or head, of the penis. It’s usually caused by an infection of the foreskin and can occur in uncircumcised and circumcised men alike. Balanitis usually heals on its own without treatment, but if it doesn’t go away or gets worse within two weeks, you should see your doctor for evaluation.

What is balanitis?

Balanitis is the medical term for an infection of the penis tip and foreskin. It can be caused by a variety of bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Balanitis isn’t a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In fact, it’s actually relatively rare in people who aren’t uncircumcised. However, because balanitis can occur in uncircumcised men and boys who haven’t been properly cleaned when they were young—and because it’s so easily treated with antibiotics—you should always make sure you wash your hands before touching either yourself or anyone else’s genitals to reduce the risk of spreading germs from one part of your body to another.

If you’re sexually active with multiple partners at once or have had unprotected sex with someone whose genitals have signs and symptoms of balanitis—like redness or swelling around their penis tip and foreskin—then you may become infected yourself, too if these bacteria enter through small cuts on your skin during sex (especially hand-to-genital contact).

What are the signs and symptoms of balanitis?

Most cases of balanitis are mild and do not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • 1. Swelling of the foreskin and tip of the penis
  • 2. Redness around the foreskin and tip of the penis
  • 3. Itching in or around your foreskin and tip of your penis
  • 4. Pain when passing urine (peeing) or during sexual activity
  • 5. Burning sensation while passing urine

Other conditions, such as STDs, can also cause these symptoms, so it’s important to see a doctor if you experience them.

What causes balanitis?

The most common cause of balanitis is an infection with a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. The condition can also be caused by yeast, fungi, or other types of germs, including viruses.

Poor hygiene can lead to balanitis if you frequently rub your penis and touch other body parts before washing your hands. This can spread the germs from your foreskin to the rest of your body. For example, if you have a cut on the head (glans) of your penis and then touch another part of your body before washing, the germs may spread to that area as well as another part of your body that was not touched by the head (glans) itself but might have been exposed due to poor hygiene practices such as touching one’s face or sharing food utensils after touching anything else on oneself like clothing/clothing fabrics [sic].

In some cases, balanitis may be caused by an allergic reaction to soaps or other products used in cleaning areas around the scrotum area, such as creams for dry skin conditions applied near genitals which could cause an itching sensation when touched repeatedly over long periods; however, this is less likely than bacterial infections since it usually occurs within hours rather than days after exposure.”

Who is most likely to get balanitis?

There are a few factors that make you more likely to get balanitis. These include:

  • 1. Diabetes. People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing this infection.
  • 2. Poor hygiene. Men who don’t wash their penis carefully or have poor hygiene may be more likely to develop a fungal infection, which can lead to balanitis.
  • 3. A weakened immune system. People with conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis may be susceptible to balanitis because their immune systems aren’t working well enough to fight off infections normally.

How is balanitis diagnosed?

To diagnose balanitis, your doctor will perform a physical exam and order tests to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

  • 1. Physical exam. Your doctor will look at your penis as part of a physical examination. He or she will closely examine your penis tip and foreskin to check for signs that may indicate balanitis, such as redness, swelling, or pus-filled blisters.
  • 2. Swab test for bacteria. Your doctor may swab inside your urethra (the tube through which urine flows) to test for bacteria with culture swabs if he thinks you have bacterial balanitis. This can help determine which antibiotic is most appropriate to treat your condition.
  • 3. Blood tests. Blood tests can be used if an infection with one type of organism seems likely but cannot be confirmed by testing the culture swabs taken from inside the urethra or urine samples taken after urination (urine). Blood results are not needed when treating most types of nonbacterial infections because antibiotics are effective against them even without testing first using urine samples plus culture swabs from inside the urethra under anesthesia).

How is Balanitis Treated?

Balanitis is treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter cream or ointment. Your doctor will probably prescribe an oral antibiotic if the infection is severe. Your doctor should also have you follow a special cleaning routine to help prevent infections from recurring.

If your balanitis does not clear up after treatment with antifungal medication and/or antibiotics, talk to your healthcare provider about other possible causes of balanitis and what else you can do for your symptoms.

Can I Prevent Balanitis?

You can take some steps to reduce your risk of getting balanitis. One is to use condoms when having sex with a partner because HPV is spread through sexual contact. Another way to reduce your risk is by washing your hands often and thoroughly, especially after handling raw meat and other foods that may be contaminated with germs.

Because the foreskin protects the penis tip from urine, it’s important for men with balanitis to keep this area clean and dry. For example:

  • 1. Wear clean underwear every day; avoid tight-fitting underpants (or briefs)
  • 2. Use only cotton materials next to your skin—cotton bedding, in particular, helps keep the area dry.
  • 3. Drink plenty of water daily so urine can flush out harmful substances more easily.

Taking a daily multivitamin can also help because it provides the body with many nutrients to stay healthy.

When should I call my healthcare provider about balanitis?

  • 1. Call your healthcare provider if the infection is not improving within three days of using the appropriate treatment.
  • 2. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have a fever and/or chills with your rash.
  • 3. Balanitis may take longer than three days to improve if you are diabetic or on antibiotics. Talk with your healthcare provider about what to do if this happens to you.
  • 4. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have had balanitis for more than one week or if it has not completely cleared up in 2 months.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these signs and symptoms.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have any of these signs or symptoms. Do not try to treat this yourself. Do not use over-the-counter medications. If you are experiencing pain, see your doctor right away.

If you have a place where the blood clots can travel, it may cause serious problems. Some people will have these clots travel to their lungs, which is called a pulmonary embolism. This can be life-threatening and needs immediate treatment.


Getting diagnosed and treated early is important to prevent balanitis from becoming more serious. If it goes untreated, it can lead to other health problems like bacterial infections, inflammation of the foreskin, and scarring on your penis tip. Some people with HIV infection get a condition called balanoposthitis, where there are sores on their penis and under the foreskin that form bumps that can turn into blisters filled with pus or blood.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of balanitis?

The most common symptom is inflammation of the foreskin, which can lead to a burning or itching sensation. Other symptoms include redness and swelling in the area around your penis tip and pain when urinating.

How do you know if you have balanoposthitis?

The most common symptom is inflammation of the foreskin, which can lead to a burning sensation. Other symptoms include redness and swelling in the area around your penis tip and pain when urinating.

How does balanitis affect sexual health?

Balanitis can make it difficult for some people with HIV infection to have sex because of discomfort or pain associated with an inflamed foreskin (known as phimosis).

An inflamed foreskin can also make it difficult for men to have sex because of discomfort or pain associated with an inflamed foreskin (known as phimosis).

How do I know if I have balanitis?

The most common symptom is inflammation of the foreskin, which can lead to a burning sensation. Other symptoms include redness and swelling in the area around your penis tip and pain when urinating.

What causes balanitis?

The exact cause of balanitis is unknown, but it often occurs in men with phimosis. Phimosis is when the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans). This is because the opening of the foreskin is too small or tight.

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