What is Balanitis?

Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis (glans penis). It is a common condition that affects around 3 in every 100 males. Most men with balanitis are either uncircumcised or recently circumcised.

The glans penis is usually irritated because of:

  • Exposure to irritants (e.g., chemicals, soaps and lotions)
  • Bacteria or fungi (e.g., yeast) infection
  • Skin conditions (e.g., dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • Sexually transmitted infections (e.g., genital herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia)

The signs and symptoms can include:

  • Swollen, red, and sore glans penis
  • Burning sensation when you pee
  • Itching and pain
  • White discharge or spots
  • Painful erection
  • Difficulty retracting the foreskin (phimosis)

Diagnosis and Treatment

Balanitis is usually diagnosed through physical examination. Your doctor may take a sample of the affected area in order to identify the exact cause of the infection.

The treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. It may include one or more of the following:

  • Antifungal creams, such as clotrimazole or ketoconazole
  • Antibiotics, if the balanitis is caused by bacteria
  • Topical steroid creams, if the balanitis is caused by allergies or skin conditions
  • Retraction of the foreskin, if the balanitis is caused by the foreskin not retracting properly
  • Surgical circumcision, if the balanitis does not improve with other treatments


Balanitis is a common condition that can cause a great deal of trouble and irritation. If you think you have balanitis, see your doctor right away to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.