Balanitis means inflammation of the glans penis (head of the penis). In some cases, the foreskin and the shaft of the penis can be affected as well. Balanitis is a common condition, which can be caused due to various conditions such as poor hygiene, infection with candida (thrush), bacterial infections, certain sexually transmitted infections, skin irritation due to soaps, chemicals in condom etc. Most cases respond well to treatment.
Prognosis of balanitis
Balanitis caused due to skin irritation responds well to treatment with topical corticosteroid (steroid cream or ointment). You will be advised to apply the cream to the head of your penis once or twice a day until the symptoms resolve. In most cases, the symptoms subside in a few days. The medication should not be used for more than 14 days in a row as steroids (even when used locally) can cause side-effects such as itchy skin and a skin rash.
Balanitis due to fungal infection is treated with either an antifungal cream such as imidazole or an oral antifungal medication (tablet or capsule) such as fluconazole. People with balanitis due to bacterial infection are treated with a seven-day course of oral antibiotics (antibiotic tablets or capsules). The symptoms respond well to treatment in a few days. If the symptoms are severe or troublesome, a seven-day course of a topical corticosteroid (as cream or ointment) may be needed as well.
Complications occur rarely in balanitis. Some complications of balanitis because of chronic inflammation or infection include:
Most cases can be prevented by practicing good personal hygiene (such as cleaning excess urine from the end of the penis after urinating) and avoiding skin irritation (such as using a condom specifically made for sensitive skin, using biological washing powder to wash your underwear) etc.