Balanoposthitis (or just balanitis)

Balanoposthitis (or just balanitis) is a severe infection of the end of the penis. It can be very distressing for the child.

Some boys develop thickening and scarring of the foreskin following balanitis and will therefore require a circumcision. Some boys suffer recurrent episodes of balanitis and undergo circumcision to avoid the distress of further episodes.


is a condition where the foreskin becomes stuck back. Sometimes people need to go to hospital to get it to go forward again. Often, when this happens, a circumcision is required subsequently to stop it from happening again.

Balanitis xerotica obliterans(BXO)

(now known as lichen sclerosus) is a condition of unknown cause which can result in thickening, scarring, cracking and pain in the foreskin. It is the main reason for circumcision to be performed in adults.

Zoon’s balanitis

is a rarer form of inflammation of the head of the penis and inner foreskin. There are a number of treatments but it is usually cured by circumcision.


As the testis descends through the groin into the scrotum before birth, it passes through a tube called the processus vaginalis. This tube usually closes off behind the testis shortly before or after birth. If the tube remains open (a “patent processus vaginalis” or PPV) it can allow fluid to pass from the abdominal cavity to the scrotum to form a fluid collection around the testis called a “hydrocoele”.

In most boys born with a hydrocolele it will settle spontaneously during the first 12 months of life as the PPV closes. Boys with hydrocoeles which persist beyond 1 year of age or appear for the first time later in childhood are likely to require a small operation to close off the PPV.