Image of the penis and foreskin

Balanitis is an inflammation of the head of the penis. It can happen because of a buildup of germs (bacteria, viruses or fungi) under the foreskin. It can also happen because of exposure to soaps and other chemicals. Posthitis is an inflammation of the foreskin. When these conditions occur together, it is called balanoposthitis. In adults, this most often occurs as a complication of diabetes. It can also happen because of obesity or poor genital cleaning habits

If not treated promptly, this can lead to a condition called phimosis. This is an inability to pull back the foreskin from the head of the penis.

This condition may cause pain or discharge from the penis. You may not be able to fully retract the foreskin. The inflammation can make it difficult to pass urine. It can also cause impotence.

Home care

The following guidelines will help you care for your condition at home:

  • If you are able to retract your foreskin:

    • Children. Retract the foreskin and clean with water. Apply antibiotic cream or ointment to the penis three times a day.

    • Adults. Retract the foreskin and clean with water. Apply clotrimazole cream to the foreskin and head of the penis three times a day unless another medicine was prescribed. Clotrimazole cream is available over the counter.

  • If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to keep your diabetes in good control.

  • If you are overweight, talk with your doctor about a weight-loss plan.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • You can't return the retracted foreskin to the forward position. This requires immediate attention!

  • Your symptoms get worse

  • You can't urinate

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© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.