Balanitis Treatment - Symptoms, Causes & Surgery

Balanitis is a condition of the penis that is characterized by pain and inflammation of the penis glans or the head of the penis.

Balanitis is a relatively common condition, with studies suggesting that up to 10% of men struggle with balanitis at some point in their life. While most cases of balanitis are not serious, it can be a cause of pain and discomfort. 

But with the right treatment, most cases of balanitis can be effectively managed and resolved. In this blog, we will discuss the various surgical and non-surgical treatment options available for balanitis and help you understand ways to safely and effectively treat it.

What are the common causes of balanitis?

Balanitis can be caused by various reasons. While poor genital hygiene is one of the most common balanitis causes, it can also be caused by:
  • Genital yeast infection 
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Scabies Infection
  • Skin conditions that cause itchy, dry, or scaly skin 
  • Diabetes
  • Sensitivity to harsh soaps or chemicals
  • Reactive arthritis

What are the symptoms of Balanitis?

The symptoms of balanitis can vary depending on the underlying cause and the individual's response to the inflammation. Some common balanitis symptoms include: 
  • Pain and irritation on the head of the penis
  • Itching under your foreskin
  • Discoloration on the head of your penis
  • Swelling
  • White discharge from under your foreskin
  • Foul smell
  • Pain while urinating
  • Formation of sores or lesions on the head of your penis

How is Balanitis Treated?

There are various methods of balanitis treatment. Most cases of balanitis can be treated through non-surgical methods such as antibiotics, antifungal creams, and maintaining good genital hygiene. But, more recurrent cases of balanitis caused by foreskin issues such as phimosis may require circumcision surgery.  Before surgery, your urologist will likely perform a series of simple tests and diagnostics to not only assess your overall health but also determine the exact cause of your condition. Doing so will help your urologist better recommend a suitable method for balanitis infection treatment for you. Now that we’ve discussed the basics of balanitis treatment let us move on to what surgical and non-surgical methods of balanitis treatment are.

Surgical Options for Balanitis Treatment

Circumcision is generally considered to be an effective method of balanitis treatment. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that is performed to cut and remove the foreskin (the retractable fold of skin that covers the head of the penis). There are primarily 3 methods of performing a circumcision surgery:

Laser Circumcision

A laser circumcision is an advanced and minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed to remove the foreskin. A laser circumcision utilizes laser to make precise incisions around a predetermined incision line around the foreskin. Due to its minimally invasive nature, it carries significantly less risk of any deep cuts or excessive bleeding. Recovery after a laser circumcision procedure can take anywhere from 7-10 days and is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Stapler Circumcision

Stapler circumcision is another method of foreskin removal that your urologist may recommend to treat balanitis. In a stapler circumcision, the surgeon uses a stapler device, an advanced and disposable surgical tool, to cut and remove the foreskin. This stapler device fits snugly over the penis glans and, once fired, cuts the foreskin Simultaneously, it also closes the incision wound with a silicone ring. This silicone ring will fall off on its own once the incision wound has healed completely (which generally takes anywhere from 7-14 days). Similar to laser circumcision, stapler circumcision is performed on an outpatient basis and does not take more than 10-15 minutes to complete.

Open Circumcision

Medically termed as open-dorsal slit technique, an open circumcision is a conventional form of foreskin removal. In an open circumcision, the surgeon makes an incision along the upper length of the foreskin from the tip of the corona using a scalpel or surgical scissors. Once the incision is made, the foreskin is pulled back to expose the penis glans. Compared to laser or stapler procedures, open circumcision is a more invasive method. As a result, it requires longer to heal and carries a slightly increased risk of complications such as excessive bleeding or infection. 

Non-Surgical Options for Balanitis Treatment

Some of the most commonly prescribed non-surgical methods of balanitis treatment are given below:

Antifungal Creams or Balanitis Creams

Balanitis is often caused by a yeast infection (known as candida balanitis) and, such cases may be treated through antifungal creams. Some brands of balanitis creams that your urologist may recommend to treat balanitis include:
  • Lotrimin
  • Cyclosporine ointment
  • Gladic
  • Glafine
  • Mycophenolate
  • Glazon
  • 0.05% fluticasone propionate
  • 2.0% sertaconazole nitrate

Balanitis Antibiotics

Balanitis caused by a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) may be treatable through antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline. The type of antibiotics best suited for you highly depends on the infection you have. Some of the most commonly prescribed balanitis treatment antibiotics include::
  • Moxatag
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Vibramycin
  • Sumycin
  • Cefixime
  • Ciprofloxacin

Home Remedies

Home remedies can sometimes help alleviate mild symptoms of balanitis or complement medical treatments prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, it's crucial to note that home remedies are not a substitute for proper medical evaluation and treatment. If you are facing symptoms of balanitis, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Some home remedies that may offer relief for mild cases of balanitis include:
  • Good Genital Hygiene: Maintaining good genital hygiene can significantly help you in preventing and managing balanitis. Make sure to clean the penis regularly with warm water and mild soap. Gently retract the foreskin and ensure proper cleaning of the penile glans as well.
  • Saltwater Soaks: Warm saltwater soaks are another alternative that can help you reduce inflammation and cleanse the affected area. Mix a tablespoon of salt in warm water and use it to soak the penis for about 10-15 minutes at least twice a day.
  • Topical Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has a nourishing effect on the skin, and its antibacterial properties can help you manage balanitis symptoms. Use pure, organic coconut oil and apply it after gently cleaning and drying your penis.
  • Aloe Vera Gel: Aloe Vera is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Applying aloe vera gel over the affected area may help you reduce some of the redness and irritation caused by balanitis.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt contains natural probiotics and anti-inflammatory properties. Including yogurt in your diet increases the growth of positive bacteria in your body and, as a result, helps fight off infections. You can also apply some yogurt to the affected area directly.

Can Balanitis be treated without surgery?

Practicing good genital hygiene by cleaning the penis with warm water and mild soap is one of the best practices to cure or prevent balanitis. Avoiding irritants, wearing breathable underwear, and taking warm saltwater soaks may be an effective natural treatment for balanitis. Additionally, consider using natural remedies like coconut oil or aloe vera gel to manage some balanitis symptoms. However, for severe or persistent balanitis, consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment.

How to tell if balanitis is fungal or bacterial?

To distinguish between fungal and bacterial balanitis, observe the symptoms. Fungal balanitis often presents with redness, itching, and a thick white discharge. Bacterial balanitis may cause redness, swelling, and pain, along with yellowish or greenish discharge. Prior to surgery, your healthcare provider will likely perform a series of tests to diagnose and treat your condition accurately.

Conclusion And FAQs Around Balanitis

Balanitis is a common condition, and while it may not be considered to be serious, it can be discomforting to live with. Most cases of balanitis can be treated with non-surgical methods such as balanitis creams, antibiotics, and good genital hygiene. Recurrent cases of the condition, however, may require surgical intervention.  If you experience symptoms of balanitis or are concerned about your genital health, contact us today and consult with our healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

What is the fastest way to cure balanitis? 

Laser circumcision surgery is generally considered to be an effective and quick method of treating balanitis. Laser circumcision is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that uses a medical laser to remove the foreskin. The entire procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and does not take more than 10-15 minutes to complete.

How long does balanitis last?

The duration of balanitis varies depending on its cause and the effectiveness of the treatment.  With proper hygiene and home remedies, mild cases may improve within a few days. However, more severe or persistent cases may take several weeks to resolve and may also require surgical intervention for effective treatment. 

Can balanitis cure itself?

With proper genital hygiene and self-care measures, some mild cases of balanitis may resolve on their own within 4-5 days. However, if the condition is caused by an infection or underlying medical issue, it may not cure itself, and medical intervention may be necessary for complete resolution.

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