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Male Reproductive System Disorder: Balanitis

By HERWriter
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Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis according to WebMD. Medical News Today (MNT) reports balanitis is a common condition that can occur at any age, but is more likely to affect boys under age four, as well as uncircumcised males. It’s rare among circumcised males.

Inflammation can occur if the sensitive skin under the foreskin isn’t washed regularly. WebMD says this allows sweat, debris, dead skin and bacteria to collect under the foreskin causing irritation.

The presence of tight foreskin may make it difficult to keep this area clean and can lead to irritation by a foul-smelling substance (smegma) that can also accumulate under the foreskin.

The most common cause of balanitis is lack of good hygiene in uncircumcised males. Another according to MNT is diabetes. Males with diabetes are more susceptible to infection because if glucose is present in urine, some may remain on the foreskin. Glucose helps bacteria multiply more quickly.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists other diseases, including reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis et atrophicus, can lead to balanitis.

Dermatitis may cause also balanitis. WebMD says dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin, often caused by an irritating substance or a contact allergy. Sensitivity to soaps, detergents, perfumes, and spermicides can cause an allergic reaction.

An About.com Men’s Health article writes response to infection from various viruses and organisms can cause balanitis. These include human papillomavirus (HPV), strep, candida, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

WebMD says symptoms of balanitis can include swelling, itching, pain, foul-smelling discharge, tenderness of the penile head, impotence, difficulty passing urine, and the inability to retract the foreskin. About.com states balanitis is characterized by a shiny red or reddish orange area. It can also present as a yellow patch with pinpoint spotting.

Without treatment, NIH says chronic inflammation or infection can scar and narrow the opening of the penis.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

circumcision!! Do it!!! OMG people....

December 20, 2011 - 10:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

For adult men, proper hygiene of the penis requires retracting the foreskin and rinsing with water. Soap should not be used to wash under the foreskin because there is at least one study showing overwashing with soap is a factor causing recurrent balanitis. Retract-Rinse-Return. That is all I do and all that is necessary.

December 10, 2011 - 7:38pm
EmpowHER Guest

"Improper" hygiene for the foreskin can cause irritation that leaves it vulnerable to balanitis. That sometimes gets paraphrased to "lack of" hygiene, but actually the AAP's guidance for the normal penis is LEAVE IT ALONE.

Retracting the foreskin for cleaning is THE most common cause of balanitis. It no more needs cleaning the inside of the vagina or the inside of the eyelid. ONLY THE OWNER of the penis should ever retract the foreskin. If he's not old enough to do it himself, it does not need done.

December 9, 2011 - 11:04pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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