All men want to put their best foot forward, and when it comes to sexual health, they want the most attractive penis possible. Cracked skin on, around and under the foreskin is not a pretty sight -- but what’s more important – it may be a sign of a serious health issue. So if one finds a little cracking on their cock, it is important not to blow it off as a minor cosmetic issue until all options have been explored. A doctor can best diagnose this condition and help determine proper treatment and the best course of action for continued penis care to eliminate unsightly cracks down under.
What is Balanitis?
Balanitis is a fancy term for irritation or inflammation of the foreskin or glans of the penis. It may appear as small cracks or erosions on the foreskin of the penis, is often red and may be accompanied by discharge and penis pain. It is a relatively common condition and, while it is not exclusively experienced by uncircumcised men, it is a more common problem in men with foreskins.
What Causes Balanitis?
Balanitis is caused by chronic irritation, dryness, yeast, or poor hygiene - one of the most common causes being the latter of these. In an uncircumcised man, it is important to fully retract the foreskin in order to wash the skin underneath and remove bacteria, yeast and urine. However, on the flip side, balanitis can also be caused by excessive washing of the penis with harsh soap, which leads to irritation of the delicate skin. Finding the right balance may be the best way to cleanse the penis.
Balanitis is often an easily treated, easily diagnosed problem, but in some cases it is an indication of a more serious condition. Men who struggle with chronic irritation and infections of the penis and foreskin area should seek medical treatment. Balanitis may be an early indication of penile cancer, a warning sign of diabetes, or a signal that one’s diabetes is no longer well controlled. Poorly controlled blood sugar is associated with balanitis, thus diabetic men who see recurring balanitis need to seek medical attention immediately. Balanitis may also occur as an allergic reaction, a side effect of medications, or due to a recent change in medications. With so many possible causes of this condition, it is easy to see the importance of checking in with a urologist if the problem is frequent and persistent.
How is Balanitis treated?
For the most common, mild types of balanitis, treatment is often easy. Being more diligent with hygiene, changing to a gentle soap, keeping the area clean and dry and possibly using an over the counter antifungal cream are often the first treatments a doctor would recommend. More invasive treatments are reserved for chronic, recurrent infections and irritation and they include a dorsal slit, in which an incision is made through the scar tissue in the foreskin to allow for easier retraction; or a formal circumcision, in which the entire foreskin is removed. Circumcision is, of course, reserved only for cases in which all other options have been exhausted.
Penis Care Tips
Taking excellent care of the penis is easy and may just prevent recurrent breakouts of balanitis. Washing the penis daily with a mild cleanser – taking care to fully retract the foreskin – is a good way to cut down on bacteria and prevent excessive yeast. Be sure to rinse the area thoroughly, particularly under the foreskin, to avoid soap irritation. After the shower, gently patting the area with a towel and leaving some dampness on the skin is a much better method than vigorously rubbing the area until dry – as that can irritate and damage the skin. Immediately applying a penis vitamin creme (most professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) to the still damp skin can help lock in the moisture to help avoid dry skin, which is more prone to cracking. Choosing a penis vitamin oil containing Shea butter – known for its rich moisturizing properties – and vitamin A – a bacteria busting must-have – can help fight two of the main causes of balanitis so the penis looks and feels healthier.
Penis Pain and Cracked Foreskin