Inflammation Of The Head And Foreskin (Balanoposthitis) – Causes, Treatment

The head of the penis consists of cavernous bodies and is equipped with a large number of sensitive nerve endings for intercourse and ejaculation. At birth, the head is normally covered with foreskin – a skin fold that protects the sensitive head from injury and drying out.

At the same time, the inner part of the foreskin has glands that secrete small amounts of lubricant – smegma. Smegma prevents drying out and coarsening of the head.

Excessive accumulation of smegma leads to inflammatory processes in the crown of the glans penis and the inner part of the foreskin.

Inflammation of the glans penis and foreskin is one of the most common causes of men turning to a urologist. In medicine, the disease is called balanitis – inflammation of the head of the penis, or balanoposthitis – inflammation of both the head and foreskin. The disease does not depend on age and can occur in any period of life.

Causes of inflammatory processes of the head and foreskin

A number of external and internal factors lead to this pathological condition, which together increase the risk of balanitis or balanoposthitis. Among the predisposing factors, the most significant are:

  • Inadequate personal hygiene;
  • Increased secretory activity of the glands of the foreskin;
  • Reduced immunity;
  • Diabetes mellitus and other metabolic disorders;
  • The presence of infection in the urogenital tract;
  • Long stay in countries with hot climatic conditions.

Inflammation can only be the head – isolated. However, simultaneous inflammation of both the head and foreskin occurs much more often, which gives a characteristic clinical picture of the disease.

Forms of the disease

Urologists distinguish several forms of balanitis and balanoposthitis, among which are:

  • Infectious;
  • Circinar;
  • Herpetic;
  • Traumatic;
  • Anaerobic;
  • Allergic;
  • Candidiasis.

All forms of the disease have the same clinic and symptomatology, and they differ due to the causes and the infectious agent that caused it.

Symptoms of balanoposthitis

Symptoms of balanoposthitis include:

  • Hyperemia of the skin of the head. Redness of the crown of the glans penis and adjacent foreskin indicates an onset of inflammation.
  • Edema. A little later, swelling of the foreskin is added to the inflammation, which over time becomes well-defined and causes itching.
  • Pain in the head area. Discomfort and pain causes both edema and the inflammatory process itself. Pain can also occur at the time of urination, which indicates the progression of the inflammatory process.
  • A sharp and unpleasant odor emanating from the penis.
  • Lymphadenopathy (read about) An increase in inguinal lymph nodes and their soreness also indicates the progression of the disease.
If one or more symptoms occur, you should consult a urologist.


Balanoposthitis can be both an independent disease and a manifestation of latent genital infections in men. Therefore, in two cases, diagnosis is required with the exception of sexually transmitted diseases: if an active sex life is detected from the anamnesis and there are no significant risk factors leading to the development of balanoposthitis.

With primary inflammation of the head of the penis and foreskin, the diagnosis is done by examination, by collecting data about the patient’s life and illness. Next, the doctor prescribes local procedures and symptomatic drug treatment.

In the event of balanitis or balanoposthitis as a result of sexually transmitted diseases, mandatory laboratory diagnostics are performed. Such diagnostics include serodiagnosis, highly sensitive to a specific pathogen, and microbiological examination.

In most cases, balanoposthitis is primary and does not require additional research methods. At the same time, treatment does not include the use of potent antibiotics, but is limited to local drugs.

Therapeutic tactics

If symptoms typical for balanitis and balanoposthitis occur, delaying treatment to a urologist and self-medication can lead to disease progression and complications. In the most advanced cases, with purulent complications, it is even possible to use surgery with removal of the foreskin and a long recovery period.

With timely started therapy, it is possible to cure the disease in the early stages. At the same time, without resorting to the use of antibiotics and other medicinal substances with pronounced side effects.

Treatment consists in the use of local anti-inflammatory drugs in the form of antiseptic solutions and ointments . A good local anti-inflammatory effect is possessed by procedures using baths from a solution of potassium permanganate. Rinsing with a solution of furatsilin or hydrogen peroxide is also used.

The use of potassium permanganate can cause burns to the tissues of the head and foreskin. When preparing the solution, it is necessary to achieve complete dissolution of the manganese crystals.

If balanitis occurs as a result of a specific bacterial infection or a fungus of the genus Candida, then antibiotic therapy or antifungal drugs are used. For example, Clotrimazole and Diflukam, in combination with local anti-inflammatory and anesthetic ointments and solutions.

For men who have an active sex life, it is worthwhile to refrain from sexual intercourse during treatment and the recovery period. This will improve the effectiveness of therapy and accelerate tissue regeneration.

A prerequisite for effective treatment is the elimination of the causes that led to the disease. It is necessary to observe personal hygiene, sexual rest and lead a healthy lifestyle. The basis of a healthy lifestyle is the normalization of nutrition. Proper nutrition involves the inclusion in the diet of more fruits, vegetables, herbs, berries and a decrease in the proportion of fried, meat, baked goods, smoked meats. Maintaining the immune system through nutrition will improve the local protective properties of the skin.


With ineffective or untimely treatment, as well as not following the recommendations of the urologist, complications of the disease are possible:

  • Purulent complications;
  • Urethritis;
  • Cystitis (read more) and others

In addition to physical discomfort, a disease in the intimate zone leads to psychoemotional trauma. This can affect a man’s self-esteem and subconsciously depress.

Never be shy and consult a doctor in time for help. Take care of your body and be healthy!