Swollen, Red Penis? Balanitis May Be Caused by Bacteria

Expert Author John Dugan
Monitoring penis health is important for all men. Often a man will notice that he has developed a rather red penis, or more specifically that the glans of the penis has reddened or has red patches around it. This is often a sign of balanitis, a fairly common condition, especially among men whose foreskin is intact. There are many causes of balanitis, with a yeast infection being the most common; however, bacteria can also play a big role in creating a red penis from balanitis.
As mentioned, men with a foreskin are more likely to contract balanitis than men who are circumcised. And some studies indicate that men with an especially long foreskin may be even more at risk of balanitis. We'll look at why that might be the case after learning a little more about balanitis.
Balanitis is, simply put, an inflammation of the glans of the penis, typically caused by an infection of some sort. In addition to a red penis, common symptoms include an itching or burning sensation in the penis and/or a white or yellowish, clumpy discharge in the area. Often there is an unpleasant smell as well. In most cases, balanitis is not considered serious, especially if it is treated early, and most cases respond quickly to treatment, typically clearing up in 3 to 5 days after treatment has begun.
As mentioned, bacteria is often a cause of balanitis, which is why monitoring penis health and practicing good penis hygiene is so important. One reason that balanitis is more common among uncircumcised men is that it can be more challenging to clean the penis skin underneath the foreskin - and this problem can become more pronounced with longer foreskin, which may be difficult to retract all the way. At least one study has found that men who are circumcised tend to have fewer anaerobic bacteria, which is more likely to cause balanitis, than men who are intact. Cleaning underneath the foreskin regularly is one excellent way to keep away the bacteria that can cause balanitis.
This includes cleaning the penis after sex. Studies have also found that the same kind of anaerobic bacteria responsible for a bacterial infection in the vagina is also a cause of balanitis - so that male and female partners who are infected can spread the bacteria between each other. So washing soon after sex can help decrease the chances of balanitis.
There are other things a guy can do to help decrease bacteria on the penis. One of the most important is changing underwear regularly. A clean pair every day is necessary - and changing more than once a day is a good idea during times when a guy is going to sweat more (such as when working out, playing a game of football, etc.) It also helps to wear looser underwear and pants, rather than tight ones, and to choose fabrics that are lightweight and can "breathe" better.
Some guys may choose an antibacterial soap to help keep away the red penis caused by balanitis, but sometimes such soaps may be harsh on delicate penis skin. An alternative may be to daily apply a first class penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) instead (or in addition to the soap). In such cases, be sure that the crème contains vitamin A, which is well known for its potent antibacterial properties. As a bonus, vitamin A also helps to fight unpleasant and persistent penis odor. The best crème should also include a range of other vitamins, such as B5, C, D and E, which together can help maintain penis health at an appropriate level.


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