Circumcision as Treatment for Balanitis

There are two kinds of inflammation or infection that occur on intact males. When it occurs on just the foreskin, usually in the lining, its medical term is balanitis. When it occurs on both the foreskin and the skin on the glans underneath, its medical name is balanoposthitis. Both can be uncomfortable, and, if left untreated, both can become serious medical problems, especially when they recur again and again. They occur most often during infancy and early childhood, before the foreskin has separated but also as a result of poor genital hygiene. And of course, since they occur under the foreskin, they only occur in intact males who have a foreskin.

They are also common in older males who are unable to practice good genital hygiene but can occur in any male when he is in unclean conditions, such as camping without a supply of clean water. That’s because one of the easiest and most important protections against balanitis or balanoposthitis is excellent hygiene, and not allowing smegma, bacteria, dirt and other irritations to gather in the damp foreskin lining.

While circumcision may be medically necessary for recurrent or serious cases, it is not the only treatment. Another remedy is antibiotics, but only for bacterial infections. A problem with antibiotics is their overuse, since antibiotic treatments can contribute to antibiotic resistance, a major medical problem today. And other causes of the inflammation and infection can be caused by a fungus, and therefore, be unresponsive to antibiotic treatment.

Many medical problems, including (or, especially) infections, can be easily prevented by teaching a male to practice excellent genital hygiene, namely washing with soap and water at least once a day. During his first year or two he may require some help from his parents before trusting him to assume the responsibility for this important habit himself. It also means changing diapers frequently, especially dirty diapers, and wiping him from front to back.

Given the potential seriousness of any medical problem, we advise you to consult with your doctors for further information.