Diagnosis of  Balanitis

By  , Expert Content
Feb 15, 2012

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Balanitis is a common condition, which affects the penis. The term indicates inflammation of the head of the penis (glans penis). In many cases, the foreskin (the loose flap of skin that covers the head of the penis) is also affected. The doctor can diagnose the condition clinically (i.e. by seeing) and taking history.

History and examination: The doctor may ask questions such as:

  • How often you clean the penis.
  • If you have been exposed to irritants such as soap or bubble bath.
  • If you have noticed the child playing or fiddling with their foreskin or how often his nappy is changed.
  • If you have any skin problem such as eczema.

Most cases of Balanitis can be diagnosed clinically (i.e. by seeing) by a doctor. If the end of penis looks red and inflamed, the doctor will mostly diagnose it as balanitis. The probable cause also can be diagnosed sometime by the look of the inflammation such as inflammation caused by candida often looks quite characteristic. Therefore, in many cases, the doctor can diagnose the cause and start treatment straight away without any tests.

Laboratory tests

Testing for balanitis (both in adults and children) is needed only if the symptoms are particularly severe, fail to respond to treatment or you have had repeated episodes of balanitis. In some cases, tests may be recommended if the doctor is not sure about the cause. Some tests that your doctor may suggest include:

  • Swab test—swab is taken from the site of infection to look for certain bacteria and fungus that can cause infection.
  • Blood sugar test may be done if diabetes is suspected.
  • Tests to rule out sexually transmitted infection (if they are suspected as the underlying cause).
  • Consultation with skin specialist if a skin condition or allergy is suspected as the cause of the problem.
  • Biopsy may be done in rare cases if inflammation persists despite repeated treatment. In biopsy, a small sample of inflamed skin is taken and examined under the microscope by a pathologist (a doctor, who specialises in diagnosing diseases by looking at cells and tissues under a microscope). This can help to diagnose the cause.



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