Infectious balanoposthitis: management, clinical and laboratory features

Int J Dermatol. 2009 Feb;48(2):121-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.03966.x.


Background: Balanitis is defined as inflammation of the glans penis, often involving the prepuce (balanoposthitis). It is a common condition due to a wide variety of causes with infection being the most frequent and several microorganisms reported. The clinical aspect is often non specific. The management of balanoposthitis remains a clinical challenge.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of infectious balanitis, its management, clinical features, laboratory procedures and treatment options.

Subjects and methods: One hundred eighteen patients with infectious balanitis were evaluated between 1995 and 2004 and laboratory data were collected.

Results: Balanitis was diagnosed in 219 (10.7%) of the men that have attended the sexually transmitted disease (STD) Clinic. One hundred eighteen (53.9%) had clinically been assumed to suffer from infectious balanitis. In 75 (63.6%) patients the diagnosis was confirmed by culture studies. Candida albicans was isolated from 24 patients. Staphylococcus spp. and groups B and D Streptococci were the most frequently isolated bacteria. All men were uncircumcised. Ninety-one (77.1%) of infectious balanitis patients were treated with antifungal agents. Twelve patients with infectious noncandida balanitis were treated with general antibiotic therapy. Fifty-five (46.6%) patients had a follow-up of 3 to 12 months during which recurrences were registered in 7 (12.7%) patients.

Conclusions: Infectious balanitis was a common condition, affecting 53.9 % of male STD clinic patients in this study. Candida spp. were the most frequently isolated microorganisms. The clinical aspect is of little value in predicting the infectious agent associated with balanoposthitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Balanitis / epidemiology
  • Balanitis / microbiology*
  • Balanitis / therapy*
  • Candida / isolation & purification
  • Candidiasis / diagnosis
  • Candidiasis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / epidemiology
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / microbiology*
  • Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / microbiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy
  • Streptococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Streptococcal Infections / therapy
  • Young Adult