Balanitis is a disease that affects men of all ages and is accompanied by redness, itching, and sometimes swelling around the head of the penis. This disorder can cause discomfort and sometimes pain when urinating. It particularly affects those who have not been circumcised. Although it can be awkward or embarrassing, you don't have to feel that way. Indeed, many men suffer from it and luckily it can be easily treated with medicated creams.
Method 1 of 3: Relieve discomfort by applying medication
Step 1. Clean the underside of the foreskin with lukewarm water every day
Remember that balanitis usually occurs because the area around the head of the penis is not clean and / or poorly maintained. Therefore, if you are not circumcised, try to get into the habit of cleaning your penis daily when you shower or at least 4-5 times a week. To do this, simply pull the foreskin back and clean the exposed area with lukewarm running water. Do not use soap which may irritate your glans.
- In medical terms, the head of the penis is known as the "glans". So you may hear your doctor or other healthcare professional use this term.
- If for some reason you still want to use soap to clean your penis, make sure you choose one that is very mild and unscented.
- Keeping the glans clean will help prevent bacteria from building up under the foreskin and lowering the risk of developing balanitis.
- If you have reason to believe that you have contact dermatitis, you should avoid using soap for cleaning at all costs, as it may cause more irritation.
Step 2. Take a salt bath
This will help relieve the itching and pain associated with balanitis. Usually, a penile head infected with this disease is swollen, covered with red, itchy spots. If your symptoms are particularly bothersome or painful, be sure to take a salt bath to relieve them. All you have to do is fill the tub with lukewarm water and dissolve about 400g of salt in it. Then, agitate the water with your hands until the salt is completely dissolved, then stay in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Make sure to repeat the bath as often as possible to deal with any discomfort. However, remember that a salt bath cannot really cure the disease.
- You can also simply wash the inflamed area with a salt water solution if you don't feel like taking a salt bath.
Step 3. Apply a 1% hydrocortisone cream to the top
This will help you soothe the itching you are feeling. You can use it by pouring a small amount the size of a pea onto your finger. Then pull the foreskin back to expose the glans and apply the cream to it so that it covers any red itchy areas. Make sure to do this twice a day or as often as your doctor recommends. Hydrocortisone cream will relieve the itching and swelling after a week or two. After the symptoms disappear, continue to apply the cream for another 7 days.
- The doctor will prescribe this cream for you, if he suspects that you are developing a mild allergic reaction in the penile area.
- You can buy 1% hydrocortisone cream without a prescription at most drugstores or drugstores.
Step 4. Use an antifungal or antibiotic cream
Do this if you get an infection in your penis. If the healthcare professional thinks that balanitis is caused by bacterial or fungal growth in your penis, they will probably prescribe an antifungal cream such as clotrimazole 1% or miconazole 2%. To use it, you must pull the foreskin back, then apply a small amount the size of a pea on the head of the penis. Then rub the medicine evenly with 2 or 3 fingers, then return the foreskin to its original position. Do this every day for 7 days or until the symptoms disappear.
- You can find an over-the-counter antibiotic and antifungal cream at a pharmacy near you.
- If your infection is very severe or resists over-the-counter medications, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medicated cream.
Step 5. Try an over-the-counter steroid cream
It can help you reduce inflammation. If the balanitis you have is due to an allergy or an irritant, your doctor will probably prescribe a steroid cream to relieve the inflammation. Unless your doctor decides otherwise, apply a small layer of steroid cream to the glans once a day for 2 to 3 weeks or until symptoms subside completely.
- Steroid creams are usually prescribed with antibacterial or antifungal creams.
- If the head of the penis is infected, whether it is a symptom of balanitis or something else, you should not treat it with steroid creams! In fact, steroid cream can make the infection worse.
Method 2 of 3: Avoid irritants
Step 1. Use a latex-free condom
Do this if you are sexually active. In some cases, balanitis can occur as an allergic reaction and many suffer from latex allergy without knowing it. Therefore, if you are sexually active and are used to using latex condoms, try switching to non-latex condoms and use them for at least a month to see results. If your symptoms go away after this time, you will know that it is a latex allergy that is causing it.
- Go to a pharmacy near you to buy latex-free condoms.
- If you are in doubt as to whether you are allergic to latex or not, go see a doctor and try to find out from him. He'll give you an allergy test.
advice: If you are sexually active or masturbate without using a condom, always try to wash the penis with lukewarm water after any sexual activity.
Step 2. Wash your hands well
Do this every time you handle chemicals. If you work in a factory, industrial center, or laboratory, chances are good that you handle chemicals every day. Therefore, before entering the bathroom or touching your genitals, remember to wash your hands with soapy water. Rub your hands with soap for 10 to 20 seconds, then rinse them until you remove all soap residue.
If you have reason to believe that your penis has come in contact with chemicals, be sure to wash it with soapy water as well
Step 3. Change the detergent you are using
Also, stop using dryer sheets. In fact, laundry detergents can trigger various skin problems, such as rashes or skin conditions, including balanitis. It is therefore preferable to use an unscented detergent instead. If the disease persists after this precaution, try to avoid using dryer sheets to dry your clothes.
If you want to use scented laundry and dryer sheets in general, try washing your underwear separately using unscented laundry. This way, you can use scented laundry detergent and not use dryer sheets for underwear loads
Method 3 of 3: See a doctor
Step 1. Go see a doctor
Do this if your balanitis does not respond to over-the-counter medications. Also, see him if you have had symptoms of the disease more than once within a few months and remember to describe them to him. After that, the practitioner will examine the head of the penis to be able to assess its color, as well as the inflammation. If he cannot make an immediate diagnosis, he will take a sample from the glans and have the cells in the area tested for laboratory tests.
- The doctor will also examine all of the skin around the penis to be sure it is not a dermatosis, a more serious skin condition that usually occurs around the genital area.
- In some cases, he may also recommend seeing a dermatologist. Technically, balanitis is a skin disease and therefore the dermatologist has better experience in diagnosing and treating the problem.
Step 2. Get tested for sexually transmitted infections
You should do this if you are sexually active. The majority of balanitis cases are not due to STIs. However, there are several types of sexually transmitted diseases that can trigger it. In these cases, your healthcare professional will recommend that you treat the underlying STI first. Therefore, if you are sexually active, seek immediate medical attention. Some STIs that commonly trigger balanitis include:
- Genital herpes;
Step 3. Inform the practitioner if you have diabetes and balanitis
Basically, balanitis disorders in diabetic patients indicate unstable blood sugar. If you also have diabetes, ask the healthcare professional to help you check your blood sugar. If the levels are too low, the doctor will probably adjust your daily insulin dose.
Although changing the daily dose of insulin can help treat balanitis, doctors usually prescribe a medicated cream to reduce the itching and inflammation associated with the condition
Step 4. Discuss with the practitioner the possibility of circumcising yourself
Do this if you often suffer from the disease. If the penis is constantly infected or you cannot cure severe balanitis, circumcision is probably the only practical option. In other words, this option is very useful to prevent balanitis from recurring in the future. If you are reluctant to do this, your doctor may recommend less drastic options, such as making a small incision at the end of the head of the penis to improve airflow to the area.
- The doctor will inform you about the various complications that may arise after circumcision. If you are an adult, it will probably take 7-10 days before you can resume walking normally and comfortably.
- As embarrassing as it may sound, it is worth it if it actually prevents you from recurring balanitis!
- Balanitis very often affects men who have not been circumcised. In fact, about one in 30 men who have not been circumcised have it, at least once in their life.
- It is a very common condition in children under 4 years old. Therefore, if you have young children, try to check their penises every 1 or 2 months to make sure there are no signs of balanitis. If so, take him to a pediatrician.