Balanoposthitis : A guide to Circumcision

This is inflammation of the glans (head of the penis) and the foreskin. In both cases there is soreness and swelling, often accompanied by a discharge from the area between the two.

In some cases the whole of the penis is affected. This will manifest itself as redness and swelling over the whole of the area –not just the foreskin and glans.

This common childhood condition affects 1% of boys. It is also common in boys and men who have a tight foreskin or phimosis.

Symptoms of balanoposthitis

These include pain, swelling and redness around the glans and foreskin. This discharge often occurs a few days after sexual intercourse.

The difference between balanitis and balanoposthitis

Balanitis is an inflammation of the glans whereas balanoposthitis affects both the glans and the foreskin.

There is also a condition called ‘posthitis’ which is inflammation of the foreskin.

So, balanitis + posthitis = ‘balanoposthitis’.

Causes of balanoposthitis

These include phimosis, diabetes and a tight foreskin. Other causes are classed as either infectious or non-infectious and include:

  • Candidiasis
  • Chlamydial urethritis
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Balanitis xerotica obliterans
  • Psoriasis
  • Reactive arthritis

Balanitis xerotica obliterans is discussed further in an individual section.

Short explanations of each of the medical conditions listed above can be found in our glossary section.

Balanoposthitis can be an indicator of Type 2 diabetes which requires further investigation.

Treatment for balanoposthitis

In most cases, non-surgical treatment will be sufficient. This includes a good hygiene plan for the infected area, mild painkillers and not pulling or tugging on the foreskin.

If symptoms persist or this condition recurs then circumcision will be performed. But this is often carried out as a last resort.


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