December 07, 2007

Inflammation of the Penis, Hidden penis

Inflammation of the Penis

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans penis (the cone-shaped end of the penis). Posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin. Commonly, a yeast or bacterial infection beneath the foreskin causes posthitis. Inflammation of both the glans penis and the foreskin (balanoposthitis) can also develop. The inflammation causes pain, itching, redness, and swelling and can ultimately lead to a narrowing (stricture) of the urethra. Men who develop balanoposthitis have an increased chance of later developing balanitis xerotica obliterans, phimosis, paraphimosis, and cancer.

In balanitis xerotica obliterans, chronic inflammation causes the skin near the tip of the penis to harden and turn white. The opening of the urethra is often surrounded by this hard white skin, which eventually blocks the flow of urine and semen. Antibacterial or anti-inflammatory creams may relieve the inflammation, but often the urethra must be reopened surgically.

In phimosis, the foreskin is tight and cannot be retracted over the glans penis. This condition is normal in a newborn or young child and usually resolves without treatment by puberty. In older men, phimosis may result from prolonged irritation or recurring balanoposthitis. The tightened foreskin can interfere with urination and sexual activity and may increase the risk of urinary tract infections. The usual treatment is circumcision.

In paraphimosis, the retracted foreskin cannot be pulled forward to cover the glans penis. The condition most commonly develops after a medical professional retracts the foreskin as part of a medical procedure or if someone pulls back the foreskin to clean the penis of a child and forgets to pull it back forward. The glans penis swells, increasing pressure around the trapped foreskin. The increasing pressure eventually prevents blood from reaching the penis, which could result in the destruction of penile tissue if the foreskin is not pulled back forward. Circumcision or slitting the foreskin relieves paraphimosis.

Erythroplasia of Queyrat usually occurs in uncircumcised men. It produces a discrete, reddish, velvety area on the penis, usually on or at the base of the glans penis. The cause may be long-standing irritation of the penis under the foreskin. While not cancer itself, erythroplasia of Queyrat can become cancerous if left untreated. Removal of a tissue sample for examination under a microscope (biopsy) confirms the diagnosis. Erythroplasia of Queyrat is treated with a cream containing the drug fluorouracil

Hidden penis

Hidden penis refers to a penis that is normal in size but appears very small because part of it is concealed. This condition may also be called concealed penis or buried penis.

Hidden penis is an abnormality that's present at birth (congenital). Causes may include:

Congenital fat pad. Some males are born with excessive fat in the lower abdomen just above the penis, which hides the penis.

Poor skin fixation to the shaft of the penis. Sometimes the penile skin isn't adequately attached to the base or shaft of the penis. When this occurs, the penis isn't fixed in its normal position outside of the body.

Tight foreskin covering the head of the penis (phimosis). The penis becomes trapped in the foreskin, becoming partially hidden.

A doctor can often make a diagnosis of hidden penis on physical examination. In cases where abdominal fat is the cause, hidden penis may improve in the first few years of life as the lower abdomen loses fat and the penis increases in size. In other cases, treatment may include surgical repair.

Obesity may also cause concealment of the penis. The lower abdomen may become so large that it hangs low and covers the penis. The penis may also appear to shrink with age due to decreased muscle tone in the lower abdominal muscles and increased fat in the lower abdomen. Such cases of "hidden" penis can be reversed with weight loss and strengthening of the abdominal muscles.