Balanitis, Infant

Balanitis is either an irritation or infection of the head of the penis. Sometimes both occur together.


Irritation may be caused by contact with urine or cleaning products used in the diaper or diaper area. Sometimes a mixture of things causes the irritation. Infection is due to bacteria or yeast germs normally found in the diaper area. There is often a diaper rash with balanitis.


Your child has redness and swelling of the tip of his penis. He may also have:

  • Redness and swelling of the shaft of the penis.

  • Redness and swelling of the foreskin in babies who are not circumcised.

  • A rash in the diaper area.

  • Pain when he urinates or when you clean the diaper area.


Diagnosis of balanitis is done with physical exam. If there is an infection, a culture may be done to test for the type of germ causing the infection.


  • Keep the area clean and dry. Change the diapers often. Leave the diaper open to air.

  • Do not use diaper wipes until this problem goes away. Use warm water instead.

  • Avoid rubbing the red areas. Dry gently by blotting with a dry cloth.

  • If you use cloth diapers, use a mild detergent and no bleach until the problem is better. It may be best to switch to disposable diapers until this clears up.

  • Use mild soap with no perfume for your baby's bath.

  • Ointments for irritation may be used. Special ointments or creams will treat an infection. Medications taken by mouth are sometimes used.

  • Mild or moderate fevers generally have no long-term effects and often do not require treatment.


  • The redness and swelling are not better in 2 to 3 days.

  • The problem comes back after improving.

  • The redness and swelling are worse even with treatment.


  • Your child who is younger than 3 months develops a fever.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 72 hours.

  • Your child who is older than 3 months has a fever and symptoms suddenly get worse.

  • Pus is coming from the tip of the penis.

  • Your baby cannot urinate.