According to Merck Manuals, balanitis is inflammation of the glans (head) of the penis. Posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin. And balanoposthitis a condition in which there is inflammation of both.
Medscape.com added balanoposthitis is defined as the inflammation of the foreskin and glans in uncircumcised males and it occurs in a wide range of ages.
Health Scout wrote in balanoposthitis, the irritation and inflammation of the foreskin and glans can be the result of bacterial or fungal infection, irritation from chemicals in clothing, or an unknown cause.
Balanoposthitis often occurs in males with a tight foreskin, wrote Merck Manuals, which interferes with adequate hygiene. The secretions from beneath the foreskin may become infected with bacteria, resulting in inflammation.
PrimeHealthChannel.com added certain chemicals used in laundry detergent can cause irritation in the skin. Trauma or injury to the skin can also result in an inflammation or swelling of the head of the penis thus resulting in balanoposthitis.
Soreness and irritation that occur two or three days after sexual intercourse are symptoms of balanoposthitis, said Merck Manuals. PrimeHealthChannel.com said there is also a foul-smelling discharge from the penis. And sufferers can also experience pain in the penis and the foreskin.
Treatment, according to Medscape.com, focuses on clearing the infection and preventing recurrent inflammation and infection through improved personal hygiene. Males should frequently wash and dry the foreskin as an essential preventive measure. Health Scout concurred that personal hygiene will prevent most instances of simple balanoposthitis.
Medscape.com said that topical antibiotics and antifungals or low-potency steroid creams can help treat balanoposthitis.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said in severe cases, circumcision may be the best option. If males cannot pull back (retract) the foreskin to clean it, they may need to be circumcised.
Medscape.com said that is not as necessary as has been in the past. Still, circumcision may be considered for stubborn or recurrent balanoposthitis.
Health Scout wrote those who develop balanoposthitis should talk to their doctor and be evaluated for diabetes as the conditions can be connected. Health Scout went on to say there is a real possibility balanitis and balanoposthitis can be harbingers of other, more serious diseases and cannot be dismissed as simple local unhygienic inflammations, especially if they become chronic or persistent.
Merck Manuals added that chronic balanoposthitis increases the risk of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin), paraphimosis (when foreskin becomes trapped once retracted), and cancer.
In addition to a health care provider, PrimeHealthChannel.com said an experienced urologist or dermatologist can diagnose balanoposthitis during a physical exam.
"Balanitis, Posthitis, and Balanoposthitis: Penile and Scrotal Disorders: Merck Manual Professional ." THE MERCK MANUALS - Trusted Medical and Scientific Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/penile_and_scrotal_disorders/balanitis_posthitis_and_balanoposthitis.html
"Balanitis - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001865
"Balanitis - Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention." Consumer Health News, Information and Resources Updated Daily. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://www.healthscout.com/ency/1/404/main.html
"Balanitis – Pictures, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment." Health Articles, News and Tips - PrimeHealthChannel.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. http://www.primehealthchannel.com/balanitis-pictures-causes-symptoms-and-treatment.html
"Medscape: Medscape Access." Medscape: Medscape Access. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.
Reviewed February 28, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith