Balanitis (Foreskin Inflammation) and Balanoposthitis in Men: Specialized Treatment in New York City

by Alex Shteynshlyuger MD

If you have any questions, to schedule a consultation or if you need a second opinion, please contact us or call   1 (646) 663-5545

As specialists in disorders of the penis, our doctors treat many men with balanitis. 

What is Balanitis?

Balanitis refers to inflammation and swelling of the foreskin (skin that covers the penis) and the tip of the penis. The tip of the penis is called “glans penis”.  Balanitis or swelling of the penis usually occurs in uncircumcised men as a result of an infection or inadequate hygiene.  Balanoposthitis refers to a more severe inflammation/infection of the glans penis and foreskin.

Balanitis is more common in diabetic men. In diabetic men, balanitis is often caused by Candida, a fungal infection.  Balanitis can lead to phimosis, tightening of the foreskin which makes it difficult to pull the foreskin back.

Antibiotic treatment and good hygiene often lead to resolution of balanitis.  However, balanitis may recur.  Circumcision is an effective treatment option for men with recurrent balanitis and balanoposthitis.

Balanitis of the PenisBalanitis in Men with Diabetes

Balanitis may also be an early symptom of poorly controlled diabetes in some men. In diabetic men, balanitis is often caused by fungal infection with Candida.  For men with diabetes, treatment of infection is necessary and circumcision may be beneficial long-term in the prevention of further episodes of balanitis and balanoposthitis.

Other Causes of Balanitis

Sexually transmitted infections can lead to balanitis.  Occasionally, penile cancer is misdiagnosed for balanitis. Failure to respond to treatment should raise concern and consideration for possible biopsy or circumcision.

What is the Treatment for Balanitis?

Balanitis can be treated with medications such as antibiotics or antifungal medications (pills or cream).  If balanitis does not respond to medications or comes back, circumcision may be a good option to prevent balanitis recurrence.

In patients with underlying medical problems such as diabetes or severe obesity, treatment of the underlying condition may be beneficial in the prevention of balanitis recurrence.

How Effective is Circumcision for Treatment of Balanitis?

Circumcision is very effective in the treatment of balanitis as well as recurrent balanitis.  Typically, it is preferable to treat acute balanitis with antibiotics or anti-fungal medications as necessary and to perform circumcision once balanitis resolves.

Sometimes balanitis is severe enough that antibiotics or anti-fungal medications do not work well.  In that situation, circumcision may be performed with a somewhat increased risk of wound infection. In diabetics, it is preferable to get better control of diabetes prior to circumcision as there is an increased risk of wound infection and poor healing with poorly controlled diabetes.

In general, circumcision is curative of balanitis in more than 90% of men.

What are the Complications of Balanitis?

Recurrent balanitis can cause scarring of the foreskin and phimosis.  Scarring of the foreskin may make it difficult to retract the foreskin.  Chronic and recurrent balanitis may predispose to penile cancer as well as balanitis xerotica obliterans

What You Need to Know:

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Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger  is a board-certified urologist in NYC who specializes in treating some of the most complex urology problems in men  

If you have any questions, to schedule a consultation or if you need a second opinion, please contact us or call   1 (646) 663-5545


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