Balanitis is inflammation of the tissues of the glans (head) of the penis. In uncircumcised men, this process can spread to the foreskin, giving rise to posthitis contagious (inflammation of the foreskin) or balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin).
When we talk about inflammation, we refer to the conjunction of four conditions: redness, in addition to wearing different shades of red, the skin looks puffy and shiny; heat, the affected area feels hot; pain, which can manifest itself in different degrees and is the manifestation that provokes the consultation with the doctor; and functional limitation, the person suffering from the problem cannot make use of the affected area.
The above applies to any inflammatory process and not only to balanitis. Answering whether balanitis is contagious or not is a bit complicated and goes beyond a simple “Yes” or “No” since there are many causes that originate it.
In this FastlyHeal article, we will try to answer the question “is balanitis contagious?” and explain its causes and how to prevent it.
Table of Contents
Among the leading causes of balanitis are:
Bacterial infections of the glans are caused by bacteria that typically live in poor hygienic areas, usually streptococci.
Mostly, the origin of these is poor cleaning of the area, either because the person neglects to do so. Smegma accumulates that can predispose to secondary infection or because it is difficult for them to do so, as in the case of children with phimosis, in whom it is difficult to retract the foreskin and, of course, proper hygiene.
Candida albicans is the leading cause of balanitis fungal. Its appearance is typical of poor area cleaning, as we have explained before, but the most common form of acquisition is through sexual intercourse.
In this case, these infections are more common in people with diabetes.
The following article explains all the symptoms and treatment of glans fungus.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Some sexually transmitted diseases can manifest with balanitis. We can mention infection with chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and the herpes simplex virus, although the latter rarely manifests as balanitis.
Some men may be sensitive to the latex in condoms or their lubricants, thus producing balanitis due to irritation of the gland tissues.
Some spermicides used by women could also cause this allergic reaction and manifest as balanitis.
Other factors could be using some detergents (for washing underwear), soaps, or bath gel that can cause a similar reaction in the glans.
Immunological and others
Some immune conditions can manifest at certain times as balanitis. This is the case of lichen planus, psoriasis, and eczema.
It is not the usual way of its presentation, but it can affect any body tissue. Under certain circumstances, the appearance of the manifestation of any of these at the glans level could be favored.
Is balanitis contagious? – the answer
Not all cases of bacterial infection balanitis would necessarily be contagious. In most cases, the germs involved would be the same ones that habitually inhabit that area, taking advantage of certain conditions to increase inappropriately.
The balanitis Candida itself is contagious and, like balanitis, caused by any sexually transmitted diseases.
In all cases, if the pain is not limited to maintaining sexual intercourse, you should exempt yourself from doing it to avoid contagion or use protection (condom).
The other cases referred to as causing balanitis would not represent a risk of contagion:
- Allergic reactions to latex, lubricants, spermicides, detergents, soaps, or body wash.
- Manifestation of an immune condition such as lichen planus, psoriasis, or eczema.
How to prevent balanitis
Now that we know the answer to the question “is balanitis contagious?”, Let’s see what steps can be taken to prevent contagion.
If the causes of balanitis are unknown, avoiding sexual intercourse would be the general indication. In this way, the possibility of contagion would be avoided in the case of some of the first causes indicated.
Once the cause has been determined and the appropriate treatment has been established, if it is not an infectious cause, sexual relations may be resumed, but with prior medical advice.
During the diagnostic process of the cause, the doctor must rule out the existence of any underlying condition (such as diabetes or others) that could have favored the appearance of balanitis.
In cases where poor grooming was the origin, the doctor will explain the correct way to clean the area in uncircumcised men since balanitis does not occur due to this cause in circumcised men.
Additionally, it will be insisted to avoid tight underwear, or an indication for thymectomy (surgical removal of the foreskin) will be made, if necessary.
In the case of candidiasis and STDs, preventive measures should be emphasized.
Of course, once again, I reaffirm that the definitive preventive measure is to have a single healthy partner. In this way, there will be no possibility of the appearance of these diseases.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in case of presenting any condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.