He's doing better with topical abx. He developed a red streak moving up his penis, which we watched very closely, but it is improving. The swelling and discharge are better, and he's in less pain.
I want to say this delicately, because I'm grateful for all the feedback and because the issue of genital integrity is very important to me, but when I said two or three different ways that I was confident we were dealing with an infection and kept getting told that it wasn't one, that was frustrating. I'm not new to the parenting scene, or the penile one, either. I want to be sure that in giving advice to new posters here, we're not ignoring medical issues when they crop up. I will bang the drums for this cause as loudly as anybody, but I don't want to cross the line into thinking that being intact means being guaranteed a life without problems. This was a diagnosed balanitis, and if I had ignored it, it would have caused my son a lot more pain for a lot more time. Sometimes the instinct that something is wrong is on target.
I absolutely don't disagree with anything you wrote in the second paragraph. I don't know how often you visit this forum, so you may not be aware that posts like your original post appear in this forum very, very frequently -- often several a week. Many of those posters have NOT read about normal separation yet, and some of those have had their sons seen by medical professionals who have forcibly retracted, diagnosed phony phimosis, and basically scared the bejeebers out of them.
It wasn't that long ago that there was a poster here asking exactly the same question you asked, with almost identical lack of detail in her first post. Upon questioning, she too was convinced that she was seeing copious amounts of pus and her doctor had her practically ready to consent to circ. After reading more here, she convinced the HCP to run a culture on the discharge, they discovered it was just the remains of the tons of antibiotic cream she'd been applying which had melted and become oozy.
From your original post (and even from a few of your follow-ups), it was impossible to tell how much information you had, and how much possible mis-information you may had already been given.
I don't believe there are many, if any, regular posters here who would tell a parent not to seek medical help if s/he deems it necessary -- simply that there may be a cause other than infection that should be considered.