A healthy red penis is something a man desires, but sometimes that redness can be a sign that a penis health issue is present. Very often the redness indicates an inflammation, but is that red penis inflammation due to balanitis or balanoposthitis? Or maybe plain old posthitis? And what is the difference between the three terms anyway?

To be sure, sometimes a red penis can be due to other causes, such as simple rawness from friction or even the presence of some sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). But often it’s an inflammation linked to one of the above conditions.

Defining each of these conditions can help a guy to understand better what they are.

- Balanitis. This is an inflammation of the penis, specifically of the glans. (The glans, sometimes called the head, is the kind of cone-shaped top of the penis). Any man can potentially come down with balanitis.

- Posthitis. When there’s an inflammation of the foreskin, it is called posthitis. Only men whose foreskins are intact can contract posthitis.

- Balanoposthitis. When both the glans and the foreskin are inflamed, it is referred to as balanoposthitis. As with posthitis, only intact men can have balanoposthitis.

In other words, each specific kind of inflammation is defined by where the inflammation occurs. However, it should be noted that not all doctors use the terms with 100% accuracy. For example, it is common for a doctor to tell a patient he has balanitis when in fact he has balanoposthitis.


But how does a man get balanitis or any of its similar brethren? Inflammation implies infection, and sometimes these conditions come about due to an STI. However, it is usually more likely that inadequate hygiene is to blame. Other common causes are a yeast infection (thrush), an allergic reaction to soap or chemicals, a skin condition (such as psoriasis or eczema), or a bacterial infection.

Balanitis, posthitis and balanoposthitis are generally more of a problem for intact men. Why? Because inflammation often is accompanied by swelling; if the glans becomes too swollen, it may make retraction of the foreskin difficult to achieve, which can be painful. Similarly, it may be difficult to pull a retracted foreskin back over the glans.


In addition to a red penis, men with one of these conditions may notice some of the following symptoms:

- Soreness and itchiness

- A strong odor

- A discharge from the penis

- Swelling

- Pain, especially when urinating or when moving the foreskin forward or backward over the glans.

Treating it

It’s good to take a red penis to the doctor for evaluation. If there is an underlying cause (such as an STI or a yeast infection), the physician can recommend an appropriate course of action.

Often treatment for balanitis and these other inflammations involves paying proper attention to hygiene. It’s important to thoroughly wash the penis (including under the foreskin) to prevent inflammations from occurring. If the inflammation is due to an allergic reaction to soap or cleanser, it’s important to find a new cleaning option that doesn’t affect sensitive penis skin.

When a red penis is caused by balanitis, posthitis or balanoposthitis, it can leave the member feeling sore and tender. Using a top rated penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can help alleviate that soreness and improve the health of the penis skin. Be sure to select a crème that contains a combination of moisturizing agents, such as Shea butter (a high-end emollient) and vitamin E (a natural hydrator). In addition, the crème should include alpha lipoic acid. A potent antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid fights free radicals and thereby strengthens and protects penis skin.