Balanoposthitis (say: bal-ah-no-pos-THI-tis) is inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis.
Boys are born with a foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis (called the glans). The foreskin and glans can become irritated and inflamed due to poor hygiene, excessive cleaning or retracting of the foreskin, infection, diaper rash, irritants like harsh soaps, or an injury. Balanoposthitis is more common in uncircumcised boys.
Balanoposthitis can cause itching, tenderness, and pain that may interfere with the foreskin's ability to retract. Treatment usually involves warm water sitz baths to keep the area clean, avoiding potential irritants, and applying medicated creams to decrease the inflammation and treat the infection. Sometimes oral medications are prescribed.
Balanoposthitis usually responds well to simple treatment and causes no lasting complications. If it happens repeatedly or leads to prolonged difficulty urinating (peeing), it can have more complications. Most cases of balanoposthitis can be avoided by keeping the foreskin and penis clean with gentle cleansing and avoiding harsh soaps.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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