Balanitis: Poor hygiene can cause this skin condition in uncircumcised males

This is why you should take more care of your member, especially if you’re uncircumcised.

Penis-care is not a subject that is often talked about, but that doesn’t make it any less important. As a matter of fact, the more you neglect that intimate area of your body, the more likely you are to develop certain skin conditions—and there’s nothing worse than having irritated skin down there.

One of the most common conditions is called balanitis, and and it occurs in those that are uncircumcised.

What is balanitis?

Balanitis is when there is inflammation in the head of the penis, causing redness, irritation, and pain. Cleveland Clinic says that around 10% of all males will have at least one experience with balanitis in their lives.

Overall, there are three different kinds of balanitis—the most prevalent type is called Zoon’s balanitis and this is the one that affects uncircumcised middle-aged men. Circinate balanitis is also very similar to Zoon’s balanitis, however, it is usually a consequence of reactive arthritis—joint pain and swelling that happens in reaction to infection by bacteria.

The last is a very rare condition called Pseudoepitheliomatous keratotic and micaceous balanitis (PKMB) and it happens to uncircumcised men over the age of 60.


There are many causes of this skin disorder, from sexually transmitted diseases, to diabetes, eczema, reactive arthritis, and genital yeast infections. However, according to urology consultant Advanced Urology, poor hygiene is one of the most common. They wrote on their blog:

Poor hygiene in people with an uncircumcised penis is the most common cause of balanitis, especially in people who have a tight foreskin that’s difficult to pull back.

Those who do not wash their penis regularly have higher chances of collecting smegma, a thick, white, and smelly substance, in their skin folds. This also increases the risk of developing balanitis.


In order to keep your shaft clean under the blanket, experts at WebMD suggest that you clean it properly every day. Start by gently pulling back the foreskin, and wash the exposed member with warm water and mild soap. Then pat the area dry.

In the case that you do notice that your glans is swollen, here are some other symptoms that could indicate balanitis:

  • Discharge at the tip of your penis
  • Foul odour
  • Painful urination
  • Sores
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Bleeding around the foreskin

The NHS also states that there could be ‘difficulty pulling back your foreskin—though in young children it's normal to have a tight foreskin.’

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