Preventing balanitis 

You can usually reduce your chances of developing balanitis if you avoid potential irritants and infections, and keep your penis clean.

Avoiding irritants

Possible irritants to avoid include:

  • soaps and bubble bath
  • baby wipes
  • creams
  • latex condoms
  • lubricants

You can buy emollients to use instead of soap and latex-free condoms made for sensitive skin.

Penis hygiene

To keep your penis clean, you should:

  • make sure the tip of your penis is completely dry and free of urine after urinating
  • carefully wash the head of your penis with water every day and gently clean under your foreskin
  • make sure you dry your penis thoroughly after bathing or showering

This advice also applies to children, although young boys may not yet be able to clean under their foreskin because it may not fully pull back. This should not be forced and should eventually become possible as they get older.

Babies and young children who still wear nappies may also be at a higher risk of balanitis due to the warm and moist conditions, so make sure you change your child's nappy regularly.

Read about how to wash a penis.

Preventing STIs

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can sometimes cause balanitis, so reducing your chances of picking up one of these infections may lower your risk of developing the condition.

STIs can often be prevented by using appropriate contraception and taking other precautions, such as:

  • using condoms every time you have vaginal or anal sex
  • using a condom to cover the penis, or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals, if you have oral sex
  • not sharing sex toys, or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

Read more advice about STIs.


Page last reviewed: 27/11/2014

Next review due: 27/11/2016