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Balanitis: Care Instructions


Balanitis is irritation of the head of the penis. It is more common in males who have not been circumcised. The area under the foreskin that covers the head of the penis is often warm and moist. This can cause the growth of bacteria or a fungus. This can make the penis sore, red, swollen, and itchy. You may also feel burning when you urinate or have pus come from your penis.

Balanitis can also be caused by the chemicals in soap, condoms, or lubricants. It may also be caused by a reaction to medicines. You are more likely to get balanitis if you have diabetes.

Your doctor may suggest a cream that usually clears up the problem within 2 weeks. You can prevent balanitis by keeping your penis clean. You also can help prevent it by not using products that cause irritation.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Keep your penis clean. If you have not been circumcised, gently pull the foreskin back to wash your penis with warm water. Make sure your penis is dry before you get dressed.
  • If latex condoms irritate your penis, use another type of condom that isn't made of latex.
  • Wash your underwear with mild soap. Rinse it well.
  • If you work with harsh chemicals, wash your hands well before you use the toilet.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.