Understanding Inflammation = Understanding Balanitis = Treating It Properly
Uncovering the underlying cause of glans inflammation and finding permanent balanitis relief
Inflammation is a key part of our body's survival mechanism. Inflammation heals us and inflammation can kill us. The first thing every balanitis sufferer should understand is that not all types of inflammation are the same and neither should they be treated the same way.
When it comes to inflammation, there are 4 things that really matter:
- 1. What caused the inflammation
- 2. Where is the inflammation occurring
- 3. How long has the inflammation persisted
- 4. How many times has the inflammation returned
Incidentally, the answer to these 4 questions directly leads you to a deep understanding of how balanitis causes its destruction What Happens During Balanitisand how this damage can be avoided.
Let's take a closer look at each of these 4 things...
This is a crucial question that is often overlooked during balanitis. Inflammation in our body never happens without a precise cause. A marathon runner's knees may experience inflammation from pieces of cartilage breaking off into the joint space while a hepatitis sufferer experiences liver inflammation because of a viral infection.
If you simply focus on reducing the inflammation and ignore the root cause of it, the body will constantly fight your treatment efforts and return to a state of inflammation. In fact, since there has been nothing done to eliminate the cause of the inflammation itself, greater damage will have taken place which will require more aggressive treatments just to keep the inflammation away in the long term. For the marathoner that would mean a crippled knee and for the hepatitis sufferer that would mean liver failure.
Why does this matter?
Because during balanitis, there can be multiple causesfor the inflammation, such as a microbe (fungus, bacteria or virus), allergy to a chemical substance, sensitivity to physical contact or all of the above.
Unless your treatment targets each and every cause directly, your balanitis will continue to recur and result in increasing damage to your penile tissue. Very often when a single cause is hard to identify, the sufferer should employ a broad treatment approach to ensure no matter what the true underlying trigger for their balanitis, it is addressed head-on.
To most people, inflammation is inflammation. To many, it matters less where it occurs as long as an anti-inflammatory is used for symptomatic relief. Whether it's a pill or a cream, if it reduces your inflammation, it will reduce your pain and that's a good thing. Right?
Think of the inflammation as a hard punch to your body. While it can cause pain and damage, not every part of your body can take the same punch with equal ease.
Different organs in our body have different capacities to tolerate inflammatory damage. For instance, our liver can handle inflammation much better than our kidneys. Our liver can take the brunt of heavy inflammation and still recover thanks to its regenerative properties. Our kidneys on the other hand are more easily damaged and this damage is often permanent.
Why does this matter?
Because when it comes to the ability of different parts of our body to withstand inflammation, penile tissue is probably among the most vulnerable. To begin with, the glans and foreskin account for a very small mass of tissue compared to other organs. It takes very little inflammation to wipe away a large portion of their healthy physiology.
Secondly, penile tissue is very reactive to inflammatory damage. It easily scars and experiences harmful changes to its normal structure, which can mean a permanent change in how your penile tissue functions.
Bottom line, unlike more resistant organs in our body, the penis is not designed to endure inflammation. Even moderate inflammation can affect large portions of penile tissue and can cause permanent changes to it. So don't take balanitis lightly because we have very little healthy tissue to begin with and what we have is extremely defenseless to inflammatory injury.
When it comes to inflammation in our body, there are two main types:
Chronic inflammation on the other hand can be deadly. Among the 10 leading causes of death in the US, chronic inflammation plays a crucial role in at least 7. From heart disease and Alzheimer's disease to diabetes and cancer, chronic inflammation plays a key role in all of them.
The longer your tissue remains inflamed, the more damage it experiences. This damage eventually changes the tissue at a cellular level which can interrupt its healthy function and lead to more serious secondary issues.
Why does this matter?
Because in most cases, balanitis is a chronic condition that causes prolonged inflammation of the penile tissue. The longer your glans remains inflamed, the more permanent damage it experiences. The more damage it experiences, the more its function is compromised. If the damage is allowed to continue, the tissue changes can begin to affect your urinary and sexual function.
This makes it crucial to quickly end the cycle of chronic inflammatory damage with treatments that both interrupt the ongoing inflammation and also actively prevent its return in the long term.
Of all the things that matter, this one matters the most. The only thing worse than inflammation is inflammation that keeps injuring the same tissue repeatedly.
Most people regard recurrent inflammation as nothing more than a tolerable nuisance and treat it with an equally casual attitude. Like a chronic heartburn sufferer that impulsively pops antacids after every meal, most balanitis sufferers impulsively turn to anti-inflammatory or anti-fungal creams to resolve their symptoms.
Remember, inflammation damage is often cumulative. In other words, each time inflammation returns to the same part of your body, the destruction is compounded over previous injuries.
- The more times your inflammation returns, the higher your cumulative damage.
- The higher your cumulative damage, the more your tissue is permanently diseased or destroyed.
- The more your tissue is destroyed, the more its function is lost permanently.
- The more its function is lost, the more the affected organ is at risk of catastrophic loss.
The intensity and the scale of the damage keeps increasing with each flare-up to the point where the injury goes beyond just affecting the inflamed tissue and can affect your overall health and even your life.
In the case of heartburn, studies have shown that recurring inflammation damage caused by acid reflux can even lead to esophageal cancer.
Why does this matter?
Because balanitis almost never occurs as an isolated incident. It is not only persistent in nature but also recurring. In other words, not only does inflammation during a flare-up last for long periods of time, but when the inflammation does finally subside, the remission is short lived and the balanitis returns soon after.
Remember, each time your glans and foreskin experience inflammation, new injury adds on to previous tissue destruction. At first this tissue destruction may be invisible and symptom-free. Repeated flare-ups may eventually lead to scar tissue formation that may seem equally harmless. However, by this point your penile tissue has already experienced irreversible damage at a cellular level. If the inflammation continues to return, this cellular damage can even turn penile cells cancerous. Indeed, clinical studies have shown that there is a direct link between the persistence of balanitis and carcinoma of the penis.
In short, inflammation is a simple, non-threatening word that often helps us drop our guards when it comes to balanitis. It paints a false picture of harmlessness and ease of treatment. In reality it is this very inflammation that has the capacity to get out of hand and even turn deadly.
While the goal of any balanitis treatment should be to provide relief, this relief should never come at the cost of allowing the inflammation to find its way back. Oddly, the best way to interrupt these destructive forces quickly and permanently is to not just fight the inflammation alone but also target the deeper causes that keep fueling it.
That's where the 10 point therapeutic approach comes in. It is a unique way to ensure no matter what the cause of the inflammation or how severe the damage, your balanitis remission will be permanent.