Balanitis in adults
- Glen W Barrisford, MD, MS
Glen W Barrisford, MD, MS
- Director of Urologic Oncology
- Santa Rosa Medical Center
- Kaiser Permanente
Balanitis is defined as inflammation of the glans penis . The word is derived from the Greek "balanos," which means "acorn."
When the prepuce (foreskin) also becomes involved, the condition is known as balanoposthitis. In common usage, "balanitis" and "balanoposthitis" are interchangeable, although balanoposthitis occurs only in uncircumcised males. For the remainder of this discussion, we will refer to both conditions using the term "balanitis."
The diagnosis and treatment of balanitis in adult males will be reviewed here. The disorder in children is discussed separately. (See "Balanoposthitis in children: Epidemiology and pathogenesis" and "Balanoposthitis: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment".)
In the United States, balanitis accounts for approximately 11 percent of men seen in urology clinics. Approximately 3 percent of uncircumcised men are affected globally . Balanitis appears to be more common in men of African American and Hispanic descent, although this observation may be related to differences in circumcision rates .
Balanitis has a wide range of causes, but most cases are related to inadequate hygiene in uncircumcised men. When the foreskin is not routinely retracted and the glans is not cleansed in an appropriate fashion, buildup of sweat, debris, exfoliated skin, and bacteria or fungi can occur, resulting in inflammation. Predisposing factors include diabetes mellitus, trauma (eg, zipper injury), obesity, and edematous conditions (eg, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, nephrotic syndrome).To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS
- Candidal infection
- Less common etiologies
- - Bacterial and other infections
- - Dermatologic conditions
- - Premalignant conditions
- - Miscellaneous conditions
- DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION
- Hygiene measures and empiric treatment
- Directed treatment for identifiable causes
- - Candidal infection
- - Less common etiologies
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS