Balanitis is an infection of the glans of the penis. This is the result of a multiplication of bacteria or fungus in your penis. This can happen more often when the foreskin is tighter and that’s why it’s more common in young boys. Balanitis can also be caused by:
- A STD.
- An allergy. For example, certain condoms and lubricants can trigger an allergic reaction.
- An irritation. For example, deodorant and perfume can cause serious irritation.
- A skin disease. You can suffer from eczema, psoriasis and lichen sclerosus.
You may have the following symptoms with balanitis:
- An itchy glans.
- Irritation to your glans.
- A burning sensation in your glans and/or penis.
- Red spots on your glans. Together they can form a larger spot.
- White and flaky patches with a red border on your glans.
- Spots on your glans.
- Blisters on your glans.
- Cracks in your glans.
- Bumps on your glans.
- Discharge or pus from your glans.
- A swollen foreskin and/or glans.
- A sensitive glans during sex.
Both the glans and the inside of your foreskin can be infected.
There are a number of things you can do about balanitis yourself. For example, it’s best to:
- Wash your penis and glans 3 to 4 times a day and rinse with lukewarm water. Please note! Don’t use soap or perfumed products. This can make the infection or irritation worse. Gently slide your foreskin back to rinse thoroughly. You will only need to do this once a day once the infection has healed.
- Dab your glans dry. This will prevent you from drying yourself too roughly and damaging your skin and glans even more.
- Use a syringe without a needle if you have a tight foreskin. This will allow you to rinse the glans more effectively. Direct the water past your glans if you use this method.
- Never have dry sex. This can cause irritation for both you and your partner. Make sure you are both sufficiently aroused. If necessary, you can use a normal lubricant. We don’t recommend using a spermicidal lubricant.
You should call your GP if:
- The symptoms persist for more than two weeks and have not improved.
- The symptoms have worsened or have come back again.
- There is a foul odour or discharge from your penis or glans.
- You can see pus oozing from your glans.
- Urinating hurts or burns.
- There’s a swelling in your groin.
- You’ve had unsafe sex and/or suspect you may have contracted a STD.
- You develop a fever and don’t feel well.
Your GP will investigate the cause of the infection and prescribe medication, a cream or an ointment if necessary. You will be given a course of antibiotics if you have a STD. It’s also important for you to follow the advice described under STDs.