Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis. The foreskin is often affected too. This common condition can occur at any age, but happens a little more often in men who have not been circumcised. It is not normally serious and can usually be prevented with good hygiene.

Balanitis is commonly caused by a skin condition such as eczema. It can result from an allergy or irritation to perfumed soap or washing powder, for example. It may also be caused by a yeast or bacterial infection.

Symptoms include swelling, redness and soreness around the head of the penis and lumpy discharge under the foreskin.

Tests and treatment

Your GP or sexual health clinic should be able to diagnose balanitis simply by the redness and swollen appearance of the head of the penis. A swab or urine test may also be required.

Often, you will simply be advised to avoid any potential substances that irritate the penis and practice good hygiene.

If your balanitis is caused by a yeast infection (thrush), this can be easily treated.