Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD
Balanitis is the most common
cause of swelling of the penis. It may also involve the foreskin. It can be
caused by infection from bacteria or yeast. Sometimes this infection is
transmitted by a sexual partner with a yeast infection. It can also be caused by
an allergic reaction to clothing, creams, lotions, or medications. Cuts, tears,
or wounds of the penis can lead to balanitis. Men with diabetes, poor hygiene,
and those with foreskin (uncircumcised) are more likely to get
Living With Your
Initially there may be either
swelling of the head of the penis or foreskin. Both may occur at the same time.
The foreskin can become red, swollen, and tender. If untreated, the shaft of the
penis may become involved, and blisters and ulcers can form. Difficulty or
burning during urination can
cases require bed rest and elevation and an antibiotic cream applied to affected
areas. Antibiotics by mouth are frequently given in more
cases and in diabetics. Sometimes
steroid creams are prescribed to decrease
• Take Tylenol for pain or
• Use an over-the-counter
hydrocortisone cream applied twice a day for a few days unless directed
otherwise by your doctor.
• If you
are a diabetic, maintain excellent diet control and take all diabetic
medications as prescribed.
vigorous exercise if the balanitis is
• If symptoms are severe,
rest and elevation of the penis by lying in bed on your back can be
• Cleanse the penis with
warm water a few times per day. Once you are able, gently retract the foreskin
and cleanse your penis and foreskin with warm water. This should be done every
time after you urinate. Once you are better continue to do this a few times per
day to prevent recurrences.
• Don’t take
hot baths or showers; this can worsen your
• Don’t have sex or
use condoms while the penis is
• Don’t eat sweets if
you are diabetic.
When to Call Your
• If swelling continues to
worsen in spite of treatment.
not improved in 3 or 4 days.
difficulty producing urine occurs, or if blood or pus is present in the
• If balanitis