Balanitis is an inflammation of the tip of the penis or foreskin which can occur for various reasons, such as a fungal infection, lack of hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), poorly controlled diabetes, dermatitis, very aggressive soaps, allergies, psoriasis and other skin diseases. A treatment will be specifically selected depending on the cause.
In OneHowTo we will now see how to treat balanitis.
The most frequent cause of balanitis is fungal infection, usually Candida albicans, which gives its name to the disease: candidal balanitis.
The most obvious symptoms are itching and redness of the glans and in more severe cases also of the foreskin.
Before applying any treatment, it is important to clean the area often and properly, and stop using strong soaps and other products on your penis. Doing this, the condition should spontaneously resolve in about 4 or 5 days. Otherwise it requires treatment with an anti fungal ointment such as ketoconazole, miconazole, clotrimazole or nystatin. These products are usually sold without a prescription, and must be applied 2 or 3 times a day for a minimum of 10 days, right after sanitising and drying the affected area. The results are usually quick and effective.
Oral anti fungals can also be prescribed, such as fluconazole, a 150 mg tablet that is taken just once as a single dose.
A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates feeds Candida cells and provides them with all the energy they need to live. By contrast, eating organic foods which are rich in active enzymes and high in vitamins and minerals kill the Candida cells.
When balanitis occurs due to a bacterial infection the treatment will be by taking oral antibiotics. To decide which antibiotic is needed, your physician will take a sample with a swab, a small stick with a with cotton tip, to diagnose the correct cause of balanitis. Not sure if balanitis can cause UTIs? Take a look at this OneHowTo article.
Oral administration of cephalosporins such as cephalexin, ceftriaxone or cefixime are useful for the treatment of balanitis produced by gonorrhoea. It is usually taken four times a day for 7 days.
Another possibility are macrolides, such as erythromycin and azithromycin. These are usually prescribed for 7 days with doses twice a day.
If infections are recurrent, a measure to consider for a solution is circumcision, especially in cases of phimosis and paraphimosis. It is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the foreskin, leaving the glans exposed. It is performed under local anaesthesia, takes less than an hour (you do not need hospitalization) and recovery is 8 or 10 days. If not, you must ensure proper hygiene by retracting the foreskin to clean it, a basic care step to avoid balanitis.
General care for all types of balanitis, whatever the cause are:
If the skin is inflamed the recommendation is to keep the area clean and dry, avoiding the use of any scented soap, lotion or chemical that can irritate the area.
You should wash the glans every day. Pulling the foreskin back gently during bathing or showering and gently wiping the glans using only water and mild soap, making sure the shaft and glans are dry before putting on underwear. If the glans has small white patches caused by fungal infection do not attempt to clean or rub, this will further injure the glans and leave it with open wounds facilitating the entry of more micro-organisms.
Wash hands before going to the bathroom if working with chemicals that can irritate delicate skin.
You can also try a water based cream to soothe and cleanse the area. If you have irritant balanitis, once you stop using the product that causes irritation the symptoms usually disappear. However, they may reappear if you start using the product again.
Another treatment balanitis is washing with Potassium permanganate. A tablet is dissolved in a litre of boiling water and can then be used 2 or 3 times a day. Sodium borate also improves symptoms. Dissolve a tablespoon in a litre of boiled water and then store it in a covered container and use a small at every wash.
Although during treatment it is not necessary to avoid sexual intercourse this can cause further irritation and swelling in the affected area. The infection is rarely transmitted during sex, but if it occurs both should be treated simultaneously. That is why we recommend the use of condoms in this period, provided they are not the cause of the balanitis. When using condoms only use ones intended for sensitive skin.
These may be prescribed to help reduce inflammation, with corticosteroid creams rapid improvement is obtained, although the possibility exists that may worsen certain kinds of infections. This medication should not be used without a doctor's prescription.
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Balanitis, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.
- See your doctor in any case if you suspect you have balanitis.