Balanitis is an inflammation or infection of the head of the penis (the area normally covered by the foreskin in uncircumcised men) or the tip of the clitoris in women. It may be due to infection by bacteria (common), fungi (eg. thrush – also common), and micro-organisms such as amoebae and Trichomonas (uncommon). Irritants such as chemicals, urine (in incontinent men) and dermatitis may also be responsible.
Diagnosis of Balanitis
The head of the penis or clitoris becomes tender, painful and there may be weeping sores present. A swab can be taken to identify responsible organism. Treatment then involves using antibiotic or antifungal creams and/or tablets. Irritants must be removed, or the penis protected by a barrier cream or condom. Dermatitis may be difficult to treat and require a variety of creams and ointments. In recurrent cases, circumcision may be required.