When "red penis" refers to an erect penis that is a glowing red due to an influx of blood, it's a thing a man tends to be proud of. But when "red penis" describes a blotchy red rash, typically on the glans of the penis, it indicates a troubling penis health issue.
Often this latter kind of red penis means that balanitis is present; while an annoyance, most men know that it's nothing too serious. But when a woman encounters this blotchy red penis, she is likely to be concerned about what it might mean for her. This article is intended to explain balanitis to her.
Balanitis is something that occurs in between 3% and 11% of all men at some time - but it is much more common among men (and boys) whose foreskin is intact. Most men who are circumcised do not get balanitis - but it is possible. This means balanitis is more rarely seen in populations in which circumcision is widely practiced.
Balanitis is typically known by the red blotches that almost always occur on the glans (the tip) of the penis. It often itches, and there may be swelling (beyond that which occurs when in an erect state), pain or even a discharge associated with it. If a man has balanitis that is also on the foreskin, the portion on the foreskin is referred to as balanoposthitis.
So why does a guy get this red penis condition? In most cases, it is due to improper hygiene - but women should realize that improper hygiene does not always mean inadequate hygiene. Yes, often balanitis does present because a man has not washed adequately. If a man does not wash enough, bacteria may grow and cause inflammation.
But sometimes it can be due to washing the penis too much! If a man washes too often, especially with a soap with harsh chemicals in it, that may bring about the inflammation.
In some instances, it's not that the man is washing infrequently; instead, he may not be retracting his foreskin frequently enough. If the foreskin remains unretracted for long stretches at a time, lack of aeration can bring about balanitis.
There also can be other causes. For example, diabetes is associated with balanitis, as are some medications.
Preventing balanitis, of course, depends upon the cause. Since hygiene is often a major factor, a guy needs to be sure he is following proper hygiene practices. These include:
- Washing the penis regularly with a mild soap that is free of harsh chemicals or fragrances;
- Pulling back the foreskin and washing underneath as well;
- Drying the penis (including underneath the foreskin) after showering or bathing;
- Retracting the foreskin for it to "air out" as needed;
- Washing (including under the foreskin) after partner sex and after masturbating.
Assuming the cause of the red penis is balanitis, treatment involves good hygiene (such as mentioned above), plus keeping the skin hydrated. If the condition persists, consulting a doctor is necessary to determine if the assumption of balanitis is correct and to explore other treatment options.
A red penis due to balanitis is inconvenient but is not usually serious, but women should encourage their men to keep an eye on their penis health. One way to do this is to regularly apply a first rate penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). The best options include both a high-end emollient (such as Shea butter) and a natural hydrator (such as vitamin E) to keep the skin moisturized. The crème should also include vitamin C, which helps in production of collagen and is beneficial for penis skin tone and elasticity.