Balanitis

What is Balanitis?

This is collective name given to a group of conditions which cause irritation or inflammation of the end of the penis (the “bell end” or “glans”). It can be caused by candida (thrush) but also can be due to bacteria, chemicals/irritants such as shower gels/soaps or skin conditions such as eczema/psoriasis.

What are the symptoms?

Red patches or blotches on the end of the penis.

These can sometimes itch or become sore.

Feelings of a “burning” sensation under the foreskin or at the end if there is no foreskin.

"Peeling" skin.

How is it diagnosed?

Usually this is diagnosed by visual inspection (by looking) ; occasionally, a swab test may be taken from the skin using a cotton tipped swab to look for bacteria or fungus.

If the diagnosis is unclear, the doctor may want to do a biopsy under a local anaesthetic so the correct diagnosis can be made before treatment is started. This is done in the clinic but a special appointment may have to be made for this procedure and the test has to be read by a specially trained doctor so there is a wait for the result.

What is the treatment?

Stopping washing with irritant products like soap and shower gel - this is very important.

Use of emollients to wash and to help moisturise damage, dry ski.

Creams to treat underlying conditions such as eczema.

Creams (or sometimes tablets) for thrush if this is present.

Useful information

For more information visit the NHS website.