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Penis inflammation is a relatively common problem, although many men may find it a bit embarrassing and may be hesitant to visit a doctor regarding the condition. There are three basic types of inflammation. These are known as balanitis, posthitis, and balanoposthitis, depending on the portion of the penis affected. Inflammation of the penis can be caused by factors such as infections, scabies, or sexually transmitted diseases. Treatment typically involves the use of oral medications such as antibiotics or medicated creams or ointments, although surgical intervention may sometimes become necessary.
Balanitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the foreskin and the head of the penis. This type of penis inflammation is most common among men who have not been circumcised and is often caused by poor personal hygiene, although some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can increase the chances of developing this condition. An infection may develop due to improper washing, the use of harsh soaps, or the failure to completely wash off the soap after bathing. In addition to penis inflammation, symptoms may include pain, redness, or a foul-smelling discharge. Treatment may involve oral antibiotics or medicated creams, although circumcision may be recommended in some cases.
Posthitis is a form of penis swelling that involves the foreskin. This condition often develops as a result of balanitis, so the symptoms and treatment options are largely the same. Certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, may also lead to the development of posthitis. In these cases, steroid creams may sometimes be used to try to clear up the originating cause of the penis inflammation.
Balanoposthitis typically begins as inflammation of the head of the penis, later involving the foreskin as well. There is a greater risk of developing this condition if the foreskin is particularly tight or if the patient is diabetic. Penile cancer risks are somewhat greater in men who have been diagnosed with balanoposthitis.
Any form of penis inflammation can involve the presence of an infection. Bacterial infections are often treated with oral antibiotics or antibiotic creams. If there are no signs of infection, a steroid cream or ointment may be used to help reduce the inflammation. If the condition does not respond to treatment or if the problem recurs frequently, prescription-strength ointments or surgical intervention may be considered as possible treatment methods. If the patient has not been circumcised, surgery to remove the foreskin of the penis may be the best option.