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Balanitis, Posthitis, and Balanoposthitis

By

Patrick J. Shenot

, MD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
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Topic Resources

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans penis, posthitis is inflammation of the prepuce, and balanoposthitis is inflammation of both.

Balanitis usually leads to posthitis except in circumcised patients.

Balanoposthitis is predisposed to by

Phimosis interferes with adequate hygiene. Subpreputial secretions may become infected with anaerobic bacteria, resulting in inflammation.

Chronic balanoposthitis increases the risk of

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Symptoms and Signs

Pain, irritation, and a subpreputial discharge often occur 2 or 3 days after sexual intercourse. Phimosis, superficial ulcerations, and inguinal adenopathy may follow.

Diagnosis

  • Clinical evaluation and selective testing

History should include investigation of latex condom use. The skin should be examined for lesions that suggest a dermatosis capable of genital involvement. Patients should be tested for both infectious and noninfectious causes, especially candidiasis Candidiasis (Mucocutaneous) Candidiasis is skin and mucous membrane infection with Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. Infections can occur anywhere and are most common in skinfolds, digital web spaces, genitals... read more Candidiasis (Mucocutaneous) . Blood should be tested for glucose.

Treatment

  • Hygiene and treatment of specific causes

  • Sometimes subpreputial irrigation

  • Sometimes circumcision

Hygiene measures should be instituted and specific causes treated. Subpreputial irrigation to remove secretions and detritus may be necessary. If phimosis persists after inflammation has resolved, circumcision should be considered. Circumcision reduces the risk of balanitis and appears to reduce the risk of HIV infection by about 50 to 60% in men who have sex with HIV-positive females.

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