Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Beautiful Oregon
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Balanitis is usually a result of poor hygiene-for example, neglecting to bathe for several days. A failure to properly wash (or rinse) the area between the head and foreskin can lead to the development of fungal or bacterial infections that cause the condition. In other cases, balanitis may occur due to an allergic reaction: Some men may be sensitive to chemicals found in harsh soaps, laundry detergents, or contraceptive creams. Men who contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as trichimoniasis may also develop symptoms.
The symptoms of balanitis are limited to the foreskin and head of the penis (in circumcised men, only the head is affected). These include redness, inflammation, pain, discharge, sore or itchy skin, and difficulty retracting the foreskin.
The treatment of balanitis depends on the specific cause, which can vary from case to case. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, while topical antifungals such as clotrimazole can combat balanitis caused by Candida. If an allergic reaction is causing symptoms, the goal is to identify the chemical agent responsible. Ointments or creams may be used to ease skin irritation.
No matter what the cause, it is important to thoroughly clean the penis on a daily basis in order to alleviate symptoms. Circumcision is an overly-aggressive way to treat this condition. It should only be considered as a last resort IF the condition keeps occurring (in spite of antibiotics and better hygiene), or IF the inflammation is interfering with urination.
Most cases go away quickly once the cause is identified and treated. Proper hygiene is the best way to avoid balanitis