Causes of Balanitis

Various factors may lead to balanitis. Some of the most common causes of Balanitis include:

  1. Certain skin conditions such as:
    • Eczema is a chronic skin disease which causes the skin to become red, itchy and dry.
    • Lichen planus is a skin condition which results in tiny, itchy pink spots on the legs or hands.
    • Psoriasis leads to dry and scaly skin. It is a genetic disease in which there is an abnormally excessive growth of skin cells.
    • Dermatitis: This skin condition is caused when there is direct contact with an allergen or irritant.
  2. The foreskin and head of the penis may become irritated due to the following;
    • Chemicals present in condoms, spermicides and lubricants
    • Traces of detergent left behind in the clothing
    • Fabric softeners which are not rinsed out completely
    • Perfumed soaps and body washes
    • Shower gels
  3. Infections may occur on the skin when the germs which normally live on the skin grow in large numbers. Infections which can trigger balanitis include:
    • Candida: A fungal infection which is also responsible for thrush
    • Bacteria: Bacteria that normally inhabit the foreskin may multiply rapidly when there is too much of warmth and dampness in the area.
    Keeping the penis clean and dry helps to prevent infection, but sometimes excessive washing of the genitals with soap may also lead to balanitis.
  4. Diabetes: Men with diabetes are more susceptible to infections such as balanitis since their blood sugar levels are not controlled properly. The glucose in the urine may be left behind on the foreskin creating an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.
  5. Phimosis: This is a condition in which the foreskin of the penis does not retract properly. This can cause sweat and urine to get trapped beneath the foreskin. This can cause germs to multiply rapidly and lead to irritation and infection.
  6. Unprotected Sexual Intercourse: Women with vaginal thrush may pass on the infection to men during unprotected sex and this can raise the risk of balanitis. Sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia and genital herpes may also lead to balanitis.

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