4 reasons why they fail to cure balanitis
When you first consider the fact that 2 out of 3 balanitis patients fail to find permanent relief from their condition, you might assume that most of these people simply ignored their problem until it grew worse.
This isn't the case at all.
The truth is, most of these patients saw their condition grow worse despite actively treating it. That includes people who tried over-the-counter creams, prescription ointments, medicinal oils, home remedies, etc.
So why do most people fail to permanently clear their balanitis despite trying different treatments?
Most balanitis treatments fall into one of 3 categories: Anti-inflammatory creams, antifungal creams and antibacterial ointments.
The bigger problem with using any single one of these treatment options is that it employs a one dimensional approach to treating your balanitis. Remember, there are 3 types of triggers that cause balanitis (biological, chemical and physical) and in most cases multiple triggers are involved at the same time. To find complete relief, you have to neutralize all underlying triggers simultaneously or else the ignored trigger will pick up where a neutralized trigger leaves off.
Unless your treatment takes aim at every possible trigger, you will be leaving the door open for the inflammation to find its way back.
There is a reason why contact dermatitis is a common cause of balanitis. Our glans is extremely sensitive to a wide variety of things that our normal (non-penile) skin can handle just fine.
Indeed, one of the biggest drawbacks of using creams formulated for normal skin is that they often include substances that themselves lead to glans inflammation. These substances are usually found among the inactive ingredients in creams and include irritants such as perfumes, dyes, harsh preservatives etc. These irritants act as chemical triggers for balanitis by initiating an allergic response on your glans. So while the active ingredient may be providing a certain benefit, other accompanying ingredients may be feeding into the cycle of balanitis damage. In essence, a cream that may seem to have calmed your balanitis flare-up could very well have set the stage for your next relapse.
The solution: Always make sure that any product you apply to your glans is specifically intended to be used on penile tissue (especially mucocutaneous tissue). This ensures that the formulators considered the specific physiology of your glans to ensure the product's efficacy and more importantly, your safety.
Our glans has 4 specific defensive barriers that play a crucial role in protecting our penile tissue from harmful substances. These barriers begin to fall apart during balanitis, creating a vicious cycle where your glans keeps getting more vulnerable and the trigger keeps causing greater damage.
Most common balanitis treatments focus on either easing the inflammation or neutralizing the triggers (fungus or bacteria). However, this only addresses half the problem. The other half of the battle lies in reestablishing these weakened defense barriers. That's because once your penile defenses begin to fail, your body has a very hard time reestablishing them. This means even if your flare-up subsides, your penile tissue remains unprotected and your balanitis is likely to relapse.
Remember, balanitis tends to seek out the weakest point in your penile defenses and then exploits it to cause inflammation. A weakness in any single one of your 4 defensive barriers is enough to cause a domino effect that depletes all other barriers. Unless your balanitis treatment addresses this issue, the relief it will provide will be temporary at best.
The solution: To find complete and long lasting relief from balanitis, you have to not just neutralize your balanitis triggers but also restore all 4 defensive barriers of your glans. This means making sure the moisture level on your glans is optimal, the pH on your glans surface is within a normal range, healthy bacteria are able to flourish on the glans surface and there is enough lysozyme present to guard your penile tissue. This approach will not just resolve your existing flare-up but also allow your glans to guard itself from any future relapses.
One of the biggest issues with common balanitis treatments is that they don't address the long term implications of inflammation on your penile tissue. Remember, balanitis damage is cumulative - it adds up with each episode and not all the damage is visible. A narrowing of the urethra or a low level infection can go unnoticed for years and continue to cause tissue damage that can go beyond the glans and affect your bladder, kidneys and prostate.
However the biggest risk of balanitis comes from the free radicals and tissue scarring that result from balanitis flare-ups. Both these factors increase your lifetime risk of developing penile cancer. Since studies have shown that 80% of penile cancer patients have had a history of balanitis, it seems crucial that your treatment efforts should go beyond just short term goals and address your increased risk of developing more serious problems years into the future.
The solution: Besides addressing the inflammation and reinforcing the penile defense barriers, it is vital to start a regimen of penile care that consistently neutralizes the threat of carcinoma of the penis. This means making lifestyle changes that prevent exposing your penile tissue to harsh substances (such as soaps, body washes), cleansing the glans carefully, avoid smoking and introducing therapeutic substances to your penile tissue that are known to prevent cancer cell growth.
Overcoming balanitis isn't just about easing your current discomfort. It requires choosing a treatment option that addresses all these crucial issues and provides lasting relief.