Inflammation of the glans

Inflammation of the glans


Inflammation of the glans is also called balanitis. The glans is inflamed and usually part of the foreskin. If the glans and foreskin are inflamed, we speak of balanoposthitis. This is almost always the case with children.

Symptoms inflammation of the glans

An inflammation of the glans is accompanied by a number of symptoms. This does not have to be the same for everyone. Common Symptoms:

  • Pain The glans and foreskin can be very painful. The pain can radiate into the rest of the penis. An erection or sliding the foreskin back by hand increases the pain.
  • Itching If the inflammation of the glans is caused by an infection with the yeast Candida Albicans, it causes severe itching or burning sensation.
  • Abnormalities of the glans are red, feels warm, and is thicker than usual. The foreskin is also red and crusts and flakes can form around the opening. Most men think it looks very scary.
  • Secretion In case of inflammation, moisture and / or pus (pus) is formed. This accumulates under the foreskin and seeps out.

How does inflammation of the glans develop?

An inflammation of the glans can have various causes.

  • Smegma build-up

There are small glands on the glands that produce a soft, granular white substance; the so-called smegma. When the penis is not kept clean enough, smegma builds up under the foreskin. This can cause inflammation. This often occurs, for example, in boys and men with a somewhat narrow foreskin. While washing, they cannot retract the foreskin far enough to wash the entire glans.

  • Candida

Many women carry the yeast Candida in their vagina. In unprotected sexual contact, the glans comes into contact with this. An allergic reaction may develop that can lead to balanitis. Usually, these symptoms are of short duration.

  • Irritation

Frequent washing with soap or other irritants can irritate the skin of the glans. The damaged skin is more sensitive to inflammation.

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

There are several sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to balanitis. In most cases, this is accompanied by more symptoms and complaints than those discussed here. You can read more about this in the information leaflet of about Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD).

Is it serious and what can you expect?

Balanitis is usually not serious. Most causes can be treated well.

In boys and men whose balanitis is caused by too narrow a foreskin, surgery may be required. The foreskin is then partly removed so that the glans can be cleaned better from now on.

By cleaning twice a day and using an anti-fungal ointment, 90% of inflammation cures within a week.

When to see the doctor?

It is advisable to see a doctor if:

  • you regularly suffer from balanitis.
  • the inflammation of the glans persists longer

What can you do about it yourself?

There are a number of things you can do to relieve the symptoms and promote healing.

Sitz baths Fill a tub or sitz bath with lukewarm water and dissolve a few tablespoons of biological detergent in it, such as Biotex. Salt or soda are also good products.

You can sit in the bath for 5 to 10 minutes. Regularly pull the foreskin back as far as possible so that the glans comes into good contact with the water.

When the time is up, it is important to rinse the glans well with clean water. If detergent remains, it can irritate.

Cleaning Try to clean the glans of the penis as best you can. You can do this by carefully cleaning the penis with a lukewarm cloth every time you go to the toilet. It is best to do this without soap, as this can cause irritation.

This is often hardly possible with a very narrow foreskin. Then you can fill a syringe (without a needle) with lukewarm water. By placing the tip of the syringe in the opening of the foreskin and then spraying along the glans, you can clean the glans. It is best if you have this done by your doctor first.

Have partners undergo treatment. In the case of a sexually transmitted disease, it is sensible that your partner is treated as well. This prevents you from being infected again immediately.

General advice and precautions

There are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of getting inflammation of the glans.

Keep it clean To prevent inflammation of the glans as much as possible, it is important to keep the glans clean. You can do this by pushing the foreskin back as far as possible, for example during urination. Don’t force. The part of the glans that will be exposed can then be carefully cleaned with lukewarm water without soap. Cleaning twice a week is sufficient. With small children this is neither possible nor necessary.

Using Condoms Using condoms will prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted disease. This reduces the risk of balanitis.

Source: Dr. HFM Karthaus (consultant)

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