|Inflammation of the glans penis and the preputial mucosa of a circumcised penis (balanitis)|
Balanitis is inflammation of the glans penis. When the foreskin is also affected, the proper term is balanoposthitis. Balanitis on boys still in diapers must be distinguished from redness caused by ammoniacal dermatitis. The word balanitis is from the Greek βάλανος balanos, literally meaning 'acorn', used because of the similarity in shape to the glans penis.
Signs and symptoms
- Small red erosions on the glans (first sign)
- Redness of the foreskin
- Redness of the penis
- Other rashes on the head of the penis
- Foul smelling discharge
- Painful foreskin and penis
Inflammation has many possible causes, including irritation by environmental substances, certain medications, physical trauma, and infection such as bacterial, viral, or fungal. Some of these infections are sexually transmitted diseases.
It is less common among people who are circumcised, as in many cases, a dysfunction of the foreskin is a causal or contributing factor. Both not enough cleaning and too much cleaning can cause problems.
- Zoon's balanitis, also known as Balanitis Circumscripta Plasmacellularis or plasma cell balanitis (PCB), is an idiopathic, rare, benign penile dermatosis for which circumcision is often the preferred treatment. Zoon's balanitis has been successfully treated with the carbon dioxide laser;  and more recently, Albertini and colleagues report the avoidance of circumcision and successful treatment of Zoon's balanitis with an Er:YAG laser. Another study, by Retamar and colleagues, found that 40 percent of those treated with CO2 laser relapsed.
- Circinate balanitis, also known as balanitis circinata, is a serpiginous annular dermatitis associated with reactive arthritis.
- Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis
Initial treatment in adults often involves simply pulling back the foreskin and cleaning the penis. However, some topical antibiotic and fungal ointments may be used for treatment for mild cases. Depending upon severity, hydrocortisone and other steroidal creams may be used upon consultation.
In dogs, balanoposthitis is caused by a disruption in the integumentary system, such as a wound or intrusion of a foreign body. A dog with this condition behaves normally, with the exception of excessive licking at the prepuce, and a yellow green, pus-like discharge is usually present.
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- Albertini JG, Holck DE, Farley MF (2002). "Zoon's balanitis treated with Erbium:YAG laser ablation". Lasers Surg Med. 30 (2): 123–6. doi:10.1002/lsm.10037. PMID 11870791. S2CID 33098632.
- Retamar RA, Kien MC, Chouela EN (2003). "Zoon's balanitis: presentation of 15 patients, five treated with a carbon dioxide laser". Int. J. Dermatol. 42 (4): 305–7. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.2003.01304.x. PMID 12694501. S2CID 21305117.
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- Vaughan-Higgins, Rebecca; Buller, Nicky; Friend, J. Anthony; Robertson, Ian; Monaghan, Cree L.; Fenwick, Stan; Warren, Kristin (2011). "Balanoposthitis, Dyspareunia, and Treponema in the Critically Endangered Gilbert's Potoroo (Potorous gilbertii)". Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 47 (4): 1019–1025. doi:10.7589/0090-3558-47.4.1019. PMID 22102677. S2CID 7279808.
- Edwards S. (for the Clinical Effectiveness Group) National guideline on the management of balanitis. Association for Genitourinary Medicine (UK) and the Medical Society for the Study of Venereal Diseases (UK), 2001.