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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: overcleaning of penis???

 Reigh - Sun May 22, 2005 8:33 am

I have a question about a red rash on the head of my penis. the rash is also on the inside of my foreskin aswell. It doesn't burn, but it itches. it can't be an STD because i have not had unprotected sex. I have read that washing your penis (and head) regulary with soap can cause balanitis. Is that what happend in my case? how should i treat my penis. how long untill the problem is resolved? i have stopped cleaning my penis with aswell. what should i do...?
Thanks from berlin
 Dr. Anthony Solomon - Sun May 22, 2005 4:15 pm

Hello Berlin,

Welcome to our forum. Is this rash acute or chronic? You may have had protected vaginal intercourse, but is there a history of unprotected orogenital contact (fellatio)? The condition you describe on the head of the penis (glans) and foreskin (prepuce) is known as balanoposthitis.

I will deal only with the acute condition and the non-venereal causes since you are emphatic that it is not sexually transmitted. Several factors are implicated in acute balanoposthitis and it is only by examination that a diagnosis is possible. This is unfortunately not possible over the internet.

Non-venereal causes of balanoposthitis include:
minor trauma
poor hygiene
topical medicaments/cosmetics/aphrodisiacs
underlying inflammatory skin disease, eg eczema and psoriasis
primary infections such as candida and certain bacteria

Candida infection is one of the most common causes of an itchy rash affecting the glans and foreskin of the penis. It most often stems from the vagina but orogenital contact has also been implicated. Diabetics and immuno-suppressed persons are more prone to develop genital candidiasis. No, I am not aware that washing the genitalia regularly with soap and water can cause balanitis. An exception would be hypersensitivty to the soap used.

Get examined to determine the aetiology so that appropriate treatment can be administered.

Dr Anthony Solomon
Tropical & Genitourinary Medicine

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