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Reoccurring UTI's & Doc's Opinions

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
My DS (fully intact) has had 4 UTI's in his 18 months. We are currently treating the latest one with antibiotics and probiotics. Our doc (a new one to us) is, of course, recommending circumcision. Changing doc's is not an option. I would, however, like any information anyone can give me on research and why having DS circumcised will not keep UTI's from reoccurring. Our Doc says that research does not support across the board circumcisions for all males but it does suggest that uncircumcised males with recurring UTI's get UTI's less often once circumcised.

I am struggling with watching DS being catheterized repeatedly everytime he comes down with a fever (with a very tight foreskin which makes finding his urethra problematic, so it seems) and the consequences of having him circumcised. I don't know which is worse in the long run. Also, if this makes a difference to anyone, DS has Down Syndrome which causes lots of things, including his urethra, to be smaller. The Down Syndrome also makes his immune system less resistant to infection.

I was told by a fellow MDC'er that there are a lot of knowledgeable, helpful and kind people on this board that could probably help us in our quest for knowledge on how best to meet this challenge. Thanks in advance. ~ Brook Markley
post #2 of 15
Hi IlaBrook,

I'm so sorry to hear that your son has been suffering from UTI's. It's so hard to see our children in any kind of pain.

Has your son had an ultrasound and a VCUG to check the internal workings of his urinary track and bladder? For what is called reflux? Check out this link:


If you PM me, I can give you a link to another bulletin board that has someone who can give you a lot of information on UTI's and reflux.

I hope you can find a solution. I can't understand how his foreskin is the culprit. I myself suffered many uti's as a child and when I was about 6 or 7, I had a procedure done that stretched my urethra (I think that's what my mom said). That seemed to do the trick.

Best of luck to you and your son.


Lindsey (96/02/26)
Jason (00/06/08)
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, he's had both of those procedures done. And everything seems to be anatomically correct. I will check our your links though for more info. Thanks! ~ Brook
post #4 of 15
My dd has had 2 or 3 UTI's, and she was cath'd twice, but the third time, instead of doing a cath, we used a collection bag. When ds was 10 days old and they needed a urine sample, they also used the bag. It attaches with adhesive and catches the urine. It takes longer, but you can attach it and keep it in the diaper- much less traumatic.

As far as circumsizing to correct UTI's, the info I've heard (sorry- no links- maybe someone else can confirm this) is that girls are still much more likely to get UTI's than boys- circ'd or not. I can't imagine circing would ever come up if you had a dd that had recurring UTI's-maybe you can ask your doc to treat this issue as if ds were a dd and see what suggestions he comes up with other than surgery.

Also, if the down's syndrome makes chance of infection greater, I definitely wouldn't circ as an open wound seems be very prone to infection.

I hope your ds gets well soon.
post #5 of 15
Also, what I was told with dd was to cut out bubble baths. If bath time is also play time, let the play happen first, wash at the end and take them out immediately after washing, so there is limited time in the soapy water. Maybe try a different brand of soap for bathing. If you use cloth diapers, maybe try a different detergent. Be sure to wipe front to back and to change diapers often. I never had a problem with that, but I had to remind my MIL who watched dd. I don' t know for sure that these things would help, but it's good things to try.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
We've done both cath's and bags. We seem to get "cleaner" samples with cath's. I like that idea of asking his doc what she would recommend for a girl with recurring UTI's, very good point!

He does like to play in the bath. I'll try playing first, bathing last. We did just start cloth diapering and had a wicked, wicked case of diaper rash... maybe I should try changing detergeant. I will also try changing soap. We already wipe from front to back and if I change him anymore often, he might as well go naked! I'm loving the feed-back! Thanks, you guys!
post #7 of 15
Two things that are known about recurrent UTIs are that they are almost always caused by structural abnormalities and the children usually grow out of them. The belief that circumcision helps is not based in science but in observation. It appears that it sometimes helps but it is just as likely that the child grew out of the structural abnormality. This is how circumcision was claimed to prevent or cure a wide range of maladies in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Girls are 450% more likely to get UTIs than boys because the urethra is shorter and as both boys and girls grow, the urethra grows longer making UTIs less likely for both. As your son grows, the occurances of the UTIs will become less frequent and he probably will out grow them all together. If there is a structural abnormality, that may need to be surgically repaired and a circumcision would do absolutely nothing.

post #8 of 15
Originally posted by IlaBrook
We did just start cloth diapering and had a wicked, wicked case of diaper rash.
When I began cloth diapering I found I needed MUCH Less Detergent than I had supposed (thinking of feces, etc.). You may like to visit the cloth diapering board here at MotheringDotCommune to check out their experiences.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yep, that's exactly what I was doing wrong. After 3 days of nothing but extremely hot water washes, we're back in business with a completely clear tushie! The diapering board has been a tremendous help!
post #10 of 15
Have you tried sodium ascorbate? You can sprinkle a bit into juice (or as I do - in water). It helps flush infection out.
post #11 of 15
I don't understand how cutting off the external skin will solve the internal problem. (It won't). My dd had several UTI's when she was a small child, and thank goodness no doc ever suggested cutting anything off!

Since your son is prone to infections of all sorts, he could easily get a nasty post-circumcision wound infection. So, ending up with an infection when you were trying to prevent infections doesn't make sense, either.

Have you researched ways to strengthen his immune system?

Best of luck to you and your little guy.
post #12 of 15
There are several really good threads in the vax forum about boosing the immune system that may be helpful. Also, you might want to look at your DS's diet (and yours if he is nursing) I know both my mother and myself are prone to UTIs if we drink too much soda. An elimination diet might help. Diet may not be the culprit, but it's usually the easiest trigger to fix.

You said that changing docs is not an option, but perhaps you could get a referral to a urologist for this issue? It sounds like your DS's doc is out of his league on this one.
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Actually, we've consulted with a urologist who is also recomending circumcision. I think what we're going to do is treat this one wth antibiotics. They want to do another ultrasound tomorrow. I've started him on probiotics and we've switched to a more acidic juice. I'm hoping these two things keep them from coming back. We've also decided that he'll probably grow out of them as his urethra grows. They aren't going to circumcise him without our consent so as long as we can keep the UTI's at bay, I think they will eventually clear themselves up. Thanks, everyone, for all the great advice! ~ Brook
post #14 of 15
I applaud you for taking the most conservative and logical course. I know that there is a temptation to follow the advise presented by these professionals. At this time there is always the option and it is likely that your son will outgrow it. Usually they outgrow this in the first year but you have special circumstances and it well may take longer. Work with alternatives as long as you can and use what you would do for a daughter as a guideline for what to do for your son. I doubt these doctors would suggest genital amputation for the same problem in a daughter. The causes, problems and solutions are the same. It's just that these doctors suffer from the same misconceptions as their non-medical counterparts.

Good luck to you and your son! Speedy recovery!

post #15 of 15
Also, cranberry tablets are supposed to keep UTI's at bay.
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