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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Understanding Circumcision › Intact Care › Recurring Balantitis (swollen, red penis) help/suggesstions?!
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Recurring Balantitis (swollen, red penis) help/suggesstions?!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My Ds is 15 months old and fully intact. We have never had ANY problems up until a month ago. Since then he has had a mild case of Balantits (penis swells and gets red due to an infection of the foreskin) on and off for about a month. We have been treating with Epsom salt baths twice a day, and an over the counter antibiotic cream and tea tree oil. This seems to help for a few days, but then it flares up again.


Any thoughts...suggestions? We try to stay clear of antibiotics ( he has never had them), thinking about echinacea, pro-biotics, maybe a garlic/teatree/ginger poltice of some sort. Hmmm?


We had his penis looked at and the doctor (who is pro keeping boys intact) said his penis looks great and he has a large opening and the skin retracts so he shouldn't be a candidate for this type of repeated infection. Thanks!

post #2 of 8

There are some children that will have recurring cases of ear infections, eye infections, sinus infections and other problems as well. The vast majority of these problems will eventually end as the child gets older and the same can be said for those that may suffer from an infection of the foreskin. Balantitis can be a serious infection if left untreated and if it gets severe I would recommend asking your doctor about what treatment options are available. Fifteen months is fairly young for him to be able to retract, do you remember when he became able to retract his foreskin?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I should clarify...he can not fully retract, but he can enough for us to apply topical medicine underneath the foreskin. Does that shound typical.....he is retracting about a 1/4 of an inch, maybe 1/2.


True, that many children get recurring infections of something, but he is not that type of kiddo so it is a bummer to deal with this on an ongoing basis. More of a bummer in the DH wanted him to get circed as he is, and I said no....so now I feel responsible for these infections and it is making it easy for him to point the finger at me and say "see i told you so." Hmmmm....not sure what to do.

post #4 of 8
You might try not putting so much stuff on it. Plain water and lots of air (going without a diaper) might be helpful. I haven't dealt with reoccuring infections but it's important to remember that the area under the foreskin is a mucous membrane and is very sensitive. Tea tree oil can be pretty irritating even if it's diluted. I would recommend plain water baths, no soap or anything. Then let him spend lots of diaper free time airing it out. Sometimes the area may look red and infected but it's just irritated and not actually infected. Or it may be more prone to infection if it is constantly irritated. My experience in observing 3 intact

Boys and 1 intact husband is that less is more. Almost anything can cáuse irritation except plain water.

Good luck. Hope he feels better.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Yes I agree with you. We do not do anything special to "clean" it as I believe it to be a self clearning body part. I think I will try more diaper free time. I also noticed that when he wears a disposable diaper, even for a few hours it seems to flare up. We have been using cloth for a while now, and this is even more motivation to never use throw aways.

post #6 of 8

Even cloth diapers retain moisture and humidity, or at least..the ones with PUL do. You might want to try using wool as a cover(not trying to assume or anything!) or a pull-on nylon cover for more air flow if he HAS to be in a diaper) otherwise, I totally agree with as much diaper free time as possible. Perhaps incentive to try potty-training? :) My son is also intact, and EC'd, and even if he's been in a dry diaper for too long, he'll get irritated too. *sigh* Oh diapers, how frustrating you are.

Edited by EchoSoul - 2/4/13 at 3:52pm
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I will try more diaper free time, hoping this helps us. My son goes to work with me, so it is challenging to have him be diaper free.

post #8 of 8

I'm no doctor, but I think the common skin infection problem that it sounds like you're dealing with here is yeast. Yeast is commonly responsible for infections everywhere like most ear infections, dandruff, (non-STD) vaginal infections, etc.


I think epsom salt is a poor choice because while it is anti-inflammatory, above the normal minuscule levels, magnesium reduces immune response. This helps a lot temporarily, but increases the likelihood of the problem recurring (from reducing immune response somewhat).


You should probably be trying antifungal things to treat this. I think what you may find the most helpful is cranberry juice. Also avoid milk, cream, liquid/powder dairy, and sweets until it's better. These all make it more difficult to overcome infections (of all sorts). You definitely want the sugar level of his urine to be as low as possible, so minimize sugar & starch.


If monistat or a similar vaginal anti-yeast treatment doesn't do anything, you can get strong oral antifungal drugs from your doc. I think they're reluctant to use them (azole drugs) because they can be immunosensitizing (causing allergy to themselves), but I don't think anything is more effective.


I'm intact and I've never had balanitis but when we were little, I remember my brother would sometimes get balanitis if he ever really pigged out on chocolate (like Easter). I remember we saw our pediatrician about it when we were 5.

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