Balanoposthitis is inflammation of the head of your penis and foreskin. Causes include poor hygiene, bacterial and fungal infections, allergies, STDs and STIs. Symptoms include pain, swelling and discoloration. Your healthcare provider can diagnose balanoposthitis and recommend treatment. Treatment includes proper hygiene and medications.
Balanoposthitis is cellulitis of the foreskin and glans on your penis.
The foreskin is a piece of skin that covers the glans (head) of your penis. Another name for foreskin is prepuce.
Yeast infections cause most cases of balanoposthitis. However, there are other causes, including bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
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Balanoposthitis usually isn’t serious. It usually goes away on its own or goes away after treatment.
No, balanoposthitis isn’t a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Balanoposthitis affects uncircumcised males and people assigned male at birth.
Circumcision is a surgical procedure that removes the foreskin from your penis. If you’re uncircumcised, you still have your foreskin. The moist, warm area under your foreskin creates an ideal environment for yeast, bacteria and fungi to grow.
You may have a higher risk of balanoposthitis if you:
Balanoposthitis is common. It may affect between 12% and 20% of uncircumcised children, adult males and people assigned male at birth.
Children most often have balanoposthitis between the ages of 2 and 5.
About 35% of adults who have diabetes have balanoposthitis.
Balanoposthitis causes inflammation and pain. Urinating (peeing), orgasming or ejaculating may be uncomfortable.
If you get balanoposthitis often, it may be a sign that you have diabetes. You may also have a greater risk of penile cancer.
Balanoposthitis symptoms include:
Balanoposthitis causes include:
No, balanoposthitis isn’t contagious.
Your healthcare provider will diagnose balanoposthitis. They’ll ask questions about your symptoms and perform a physical examination of your foreskin and glans.
In many cases, your healthcare provider won’t conduct any tests to confirm a balanoposthitis diagnosis. However, they may order tests to determine its cause.
These tests may include:
Getting rid of balanoposthitis depends on its cause.
Treatment options include:
Balanoposthitis isn’t an STD or STI. However, an STD or STI may be the cause. You should avoid having sex until you know the cause of your balanoposthitis.
Sex may also cause further irritation or discomfort on your penis. Avoiding sex may help your balanoposthitis go away faster.
Balanoposthitis can look like an STD or STI, even if they’re not the cause. It’s a good idea to be honest with your partner about your balanoposthitis. If they have any questions, encourage them to talk to a healthcare provider before you have sex.
If you have sex while you have balanoposthitis, carefully clean and dry your penis after. Be sure to pull your foreskin back so you can clean the skin underneath.
Your symptoms should go away within a week with a proper hygiene routine and treatment.
Practicing proper hygiene is the best way to help prevent balanoposthitis. Bathe regularly and carefully wash your foreskin, the sensitive skin under your foreskin, glans and overall genital area with soap and water.
It’s also a good idea to wear a condom while having sex. Wearing a condom will help prevent STDs or STIs that can cause balanoposthitis.
The outlook for most people with balanoposthitis is good. Many often recover without treatment.
Balanoposthitis may return if you don’t practice good hygiene. If you get balanoposthitis often, your healthcare provider may recommend circumcision.
The following tips can help ease irritation, inflammation and discomfort:
Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of balanoposthitis. Your provider will test you for infections, prescribe medications and recommend good hygiene practices.
See your healthcare provider if you get balanoposthitis often or if it doesn’t go away after treatment.
Balanitis is inflammation of the head of your penis.
Balanoposthitis is inflammation of the head of your penis and your foreskin.
Posthitis is inflammation of your foreskin.
Balanoposthitis is inflammation of your foreskin and the head of your penis.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Balanoposthitis is common in people with foreskin on their penis. It usually goes away without treatment, but it may still be alarming, embarrassing and annoying. Be sure to thoroughly clean your penis every day, including the area under your foreskin. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have irritation or inflammation for more than a few days or if it comes back regularly. They can diagnose balanoposthitis, determine its cause and recommend medications.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/30/2022.
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