Inflammation has many possible causes, including irritation by environmental substances, physical trauma, and infection such as bacterial, viral, or fungal. Some of these infections are sexually transmitted diseases.
It is less common among people who are circumcised as in many cases the foreskin contributes to the disease. Both not enough cleaning and too much cleaning can cause problems. Diabetes can make balanitis more likely, especially if the blood sugar is poorly controlled.
It is important to exclude other causes of similar symptoms such as penile cancer.
Zoon's balanitis also known as Balanitis Circumscripta Plasmacellularis or plasma cell balanitis (PCB) is an idiopathic, rare, benign penile dermatosis for which circumcision is often the preferred treatment. Zoon's balanitis has been successfully treated with the carbon dioxide laser and more recently Albertini and colleagues report the avoidance of circumcision and successful treatment of Zoon's balanitis with an Er:YAG laser. Another study, by Retamar and colleagues, found that 40 percent of those treated with CO2 laser relapsed.
Circinate balantitis (also known as balanitis circinata) is a serpiginous annular dermatitis associated with reactive arthritis.
^ abcdefEdwards, SK; Bunker, CB; Ziller, F; van der Meijden, WI (August 2014). "2013 European guideline for the management of balanoposthitis.". International journal of STD & AIDS25 (9): 615–26. PMID24828553. Balanitis is uncommon in circumcised men and in many cases preputial dysfunction is a causal or contributing factor.
^Simpson ET, Barraclough P (1998). "The management of the paediatric foreskin". Aust Fam Physician27 (5): 381–3. PMID9613002.
^Pellicé i Vilalta C, Casalots i Casado J, Cosme i Jiménez MA (1999). "[Zoon's balanoposthitis. A preliminary note]". Arch. Esp. Urol. (in Spanish) 52 (1): 69–72. PMID10101891.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
^Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins, Nicky Buller, J. Anthony Friend, Ian Robertson, Cree L. Monaghan, Stan Fenwick, and Kristin Warren (2011) Balanoposthitis, Dyspareunia, and Treponema in the Critically Endangered Gilbert's Potoroo (Potorous gilbertii). Journal of Wildlife Diseases: October 2011, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 1019-1025.