Balanitis is inflammation of the glans or head of the penis. Symptoms include; pain, redness, itchiness and sometimes a discharge from under the foreskin.
Balanitis is most common in uncircumcised men. Causes include skin disorders, infection, poor hygiene, uncontrolled diabetes and overuse of soaps. Most men should be able to clear balanitis if they follow the advice on this sheet.
PREVENTION of balanitis:
  • Wash under the foreskin and around the head of the penis daily using warm water (not hot). 
  • Do not use soap. 
  • You can use a soap-free wash such as Sorbolene Cream, QV Wash or Hamiltons Wash from the chemist. 
  • Dry the head of the penis gently before you put on underpants.
  • When you go to the toilet to pass urine, pull the foreskin back so that urine does not get under the foreskin. After you finish, dry the end of the penis and then roll the foreskin back 
  • Wash and dry the penis after sex and masturbating

If you get balanitis frequently, or if your foreskin is too tight to roll back easily, see your doctor

TREATMENT of balanitis
  • Follow the general instructions under prevention of balanitis above
  • If these do not help a bath in salty water may help soothe the itch and discomfort.
  • If symptoms still persist an antifungal cream Canesten (1% chlotrimazole) is recommended, which can be purchased from a pharmacy.
  • Rub the cream onto the head of the penis, twice a day until the irritation subsides and then for a further 7 days 
  • Use the cream after you shower. 
  • If the skin remains red and sore, after 1 week of treatment, or is not responding at all see your doctor.

This fact sheet is designed to provide you with information on balanitis. It is not intended to replace the need for a consultation with your doctor. All clients are strongly advised to check with their doctor about any specific questions or concerns they may have. Every effort has been taken to ensure that the information in this pamphlet is correct at the time of printing.

Last Updated November 2017