March 10, 2008

Simple Steps for Balanitis Treatment

Posted in Category : Men's Health

Balanitis refers to the inflammation and swelling of the head of the penis or the glans. Balanitis can affect both adult men and young boys though it is more common in adults. If the foreskin is inflamed, the condition is referred to as balanoposthitis, though in many cases, the term balanitis is used for both.

Symptoms of Balanitis: The symptoms of balanitis can range from severe to mild. Symptoms include:

  • A swollen glans or head of the penis
  • Inflamed foreskin of the penis
  • Redness of the foreskin
  • Inability to retract the foreskin due to the swelling
  • Soreness and burning sensation around the head of the penis
  • Itching and rashes around the head of the penis
  • Blisters or pustules on the head of the penis
  • Ulceration of the penis
  • Lesions around the genital area and on the penis
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Inability to urinate properly
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Impotence

The symptoms of balanitis can often be confused with symptoms of other infections. For example, the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and herpes simplex are very similar to those experienced with balanitis. This is why a proper diagnosis is often a challenge. If you do experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to consult your doctor immediately to rule out any STDs or other medical conditions. In order to diagnose balanitis, your doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination as well order lab tests to determine whether a sexually transmitted disease is responsible for the symptoms.

Causes of  Balanitis: There are a number of possible causes of balanitis. These range from:

  • Yeast infections: Candidal balanitis is a condition where the glans of the penis becomes infected with an overgrowth of the Candida fungus. Candidal balanitis is more common in men who suffer from diabetes or AIDS or who have been taking antibiotics that may have caused the overproduction of yeast in the body.
  • Contact dermatitis: The skin on the head of the penis can get irritated and inflamed due to harsh chemicals and irritants found in products such as shower gels, soaps, detergents, and latex condoms.
  • Certain medications: Medicines such as painkillers, laxatives and antibiotics can result in balanitis.
  • Bacterial infections: In addition to yeast infections that may cause balanitis, factors such as stress, poor hygiene and heat can upset the delicate balance of bacteria that live under the foreskin and around the genital area. This can cause bacteria to flourish and cause a balanitis infection.
  • Injury or trauma: Cuts, bruises or lesions on the head of the penis may cause the skin to become swollen and tender and cause balanitis.
  • Lichen sclerosis: This is a skin condition that causes the foreskin to tighten and prevent it from being retracted over the head of the penis.

Treatment of Balanitis: The best way to treat balanitis is to keep the penis and genital area scrupulously clean. If the infection is present, a warm bath with salt water can help reduce the swelling and treat any soreness. In addition to good hygiene habits, medications may be prescribed to get rid of the infection. Creams or topical ointments such as clotrimazole cream or miconazole cream should be applied twice a day until symptoms disappear. Antifungal creams are prescribed in cases of candidal balanitis. If case of a severe infection, oral fluconazole tablets or hydrocortisone cream may be necessary. In cases of bacterial infections, antibiotics are recommended. Balanitis caused by sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydial balanitis will require a more aggressive form of treatment. Screening of sexual partners for STIs is imperative to prevent a re-infection. For balanitis caused by contact irritants or medications, stop using the products or drugs that may be causing the inflammation. Surgery or circumcision will be performed if balanitis is chronic or if the symptoms severe.

Home Remedies for Balanitis: Apart from conventional medication, there are home remedies to treat balanitis as well. These include changes to your diet such as cutting down on your intake of sugar and high carbohydrate foods to reduce recurring yeast infections. A healthy balanced diet high in antioxidants and active enzymes will also help reduce infections and boost immunity. Other home remedies for balanitis include:

  • Increase your intake of fresh garlic. The allicin present in garlic helps fight bacterial infections and boost immunity.
  • Fresh cayenne pepper added to your meals may help reduce the pain and soreness associated with balanitis. Cayenne contains vitamin A to boost immunity and capsaicin that acts as a natural painkiller.
  • Spilt open an aloe vera leaf and apply the gel to the head of the penis. Repeat this twice or thrice a day until the symptoms such as inflammation and pain disappear.
  • Ginger has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce symptoms of balanitis. You can add fresh ginger to your food or sip on ginger tea twice a day for the best results.