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Dermatology/Pimple on Penis head

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Question
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Hello Sir,
I am 18 years old. There are strange pimples on the head of my penis. I saw them 2-3 years ago. They don't develop or hurt me. Are they OK?

Answer
Balanitis is swelling (inflammation) of the foreskin and head of the penis.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors

possible causes include:

Diseases such as reactive arthritis and lichen sclerosis et atrophicus
Infection
Harsh soaps
Not rinsing soap off properly while bathing
Uncontrolled diabetes
Allergies
Irritants

Symptoms
Redness of foreskin or penis
Other rashes on the head of the penis
Foul-smelling discharge
Painful penis and foreskin

Signs and tests
Your health care provider may be able to diagnose your balanitis by examination alone. However, you may need skin tests for viruses, fungi, or bacteria. Sometimes, a skin biopsy is needed.

Treatment
Treatment depends on the cause of the balanitis. For example, balanitis that is caused by bacteria may be treated with antibiotic pills or creams. Balanitis that occurs with skin diseases may respond to steroid creams. Anti-fungal creams will be prescribed if it is due to a fungus.
In severe cases, circumcision may be the best option. If you cannot pull back (retract) the foreskin to clean it, you may need to be circumcised.

Expectations (prognosis)
Most cases of balanitis can be controlled with medicated creams and good hygiene. Surgery is not usually needed.

Complications

Long-term inflammation or infection can:

Scar and narrow the opening of the penis (meatal stricture)
Make it difficult and painful to retract the foreskin to expose the tip of the penis (a condition called phimosis)
Make it difficult to move the foreskin over the head of the penis (a condition called paraphimosis)
Affect the blood supply to the tip of the penis

Calling your health care provider
Tell your health care provider if you have any signs of balanitis, including swelling of the foreskin or pain.  

Dermatology

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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>

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