Balanitis is an infection of the head of the penis. It is most commonly seen in uncircumcised men, and can also commonly affect the foreskin. Most men who suffer from balanitis will have a problem with retracting the foreskin, allowing bacteria to collect under the skin and create an infection.
What causes balanitis?
Balanitis can be caused by any number of bacteria, and even fungi in come cases. The most common bacteria associated with this infection is in the family streptococci. These bacteria are quite common and are the cause of many different infections in people. The fungi candida can also cause balanitis.
Men with a tight foreskin are most likely to get a balanitis infection. Men who are prone to allergies that affect the penis, such as an allergic reaction to latex condoms, are also more likely to have this problem.
Poor hygiene is one of the most important risk factors in developing balanitis. Proper washing of the penis is essential to limiting your risk, especially if you are not circumcised. Another risk factor is trauma or damage to the end of the penis. This can cause breaks in the skin which make an infection more likely.
Although balanitis is not generally considered a sexually transmitted disease, there is certainly an increased risk of getting an infection if a man’s sexual partner is suffering from a candida infection.
You can lower your risk of balanitis by using condoms, and being sure to use good hygiene, especially after intercourse. Circumcision of an infant can lower the risk as well.
What is the treatment of balanitis?
Balaitis is treated in a number of different ways. Antibiotics can be given in cases where the cause of the infection is a bacterium. These antibiotics can be given as a pill or a cream, or both. Fungal causes of balanitis require the use of anti-fungal crèmes.
Pain related to the infection can be treated with common over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or Motrin.
Failure to properly treat balanitis can potentially lead to some complications. If the bacteria are able to travel up the urethra and in to the bladder, the infection can cause a urinary tract infection.
In rare cases, it is possible for the infection to create an ulcer on the penis. This risk should be more than enough reason for any man to want to get proper treatment for this infection.
Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the infection is cleared, in order to limit the risk of passing along the infection to your partner.
If you have questions about this infection, or are concerned that you may have an infection on your penis, be sure to seek medical attention from your doctor.