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.