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Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis that causes symptoms such as redness, itching and swelling of the region. This inflammation, in most cases, is caused by an infection with the fungus Candida albicans, but it can also happen by a bacterial infection or simply due to an allergy.
Although it can happen to any man or child, balanitis is more common in those who have not had circumcision, as secretions, moisture and bacteria accumulate under the foreskin.
When the first symptoms of balanitis appear, it is important to consult the urologist to start the appropriate treatment and eliminate the discomfort.
In addition to redness on the head of the penis, balanitis can cause symptoms such as:
- Intense itching;
- Bad smell;
- Increased sensitivity;
- Slight swelling of the head of the penis;
- Presence of whitish or transparent secretion;
- Pain or burning when urinating.
In some cases, it can even be difficult to pull the skin covering the penis, as it becomes more swollen and tight due to inflammation.
When these symptoms appear, it is important to go to the urologist to identify the correct cause and start the appropriate treatment.
What can cause balanitis
The main cause of balanitis is candidiasis, which happens when the fungus Candida albicans manages to develop in excess and cause an infection in the most superficial layers of the penis. See how to correctly identify candidiasis.
However, there are other causes that can cause irritation to the penis. Some are simpler, such as poor hygiene, taking a new medication, or being allergic to a hygiene product or underwear, while others can be more serious, including bacterial infections, sexually transmitted infections, diabetes, or injuries. In addition, some skin diseases, such as eczema or psoriasis, can also appear in the intimate area, causing balanitis.
How the treatment is done
Most balanitis can be treated with just proper hygiene of the area and the use of cotton underwear that allows the skin to breathe. However, when symptoms do not improve, the doctor can help identify the cause and initiate more specific treatment.
Generally, medical treatment includes the use of:
- Corticosteroid ointments, such as Hydrocortisone: can be used in all cases to improve symptoms and decrease inflammation;
- Antifungal ointments, such as Nystatin, Clotrimazole or Terbinafine: are used to treat excess fungus;
- Antibiotic ointments, such as Clindamycin or Mupirocin: used in cases of bacterial infection.
If the symptoms continue or reappear, it is necessary to assess the presence of some type of allergy, which may be caused by a specific soap or other hygiene product, for example. In these cases, the substance that causes the allergy should be avoided, to relieve the symptoms once and for all.
After treatment, to prevent balanitis from returning, keep the penis clean and dry, avoid the use of products that can irritate the skin and use condoms in all sexual relations, to reduce the risk of communicable diseases.
In cases where balanitis becomes a chronic or recurrent problem, it is very important to follow up with a urologist as several complications can arise, from difficulty urinating to phimosis, for example. Understand better what phimosis is.