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help, my son's all irritated

1100 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  teniprice
My son is four years old and has just recently began having a lot of itching and irritation on his penis under the foreskin. I have never cleaned it or retracted the foreskin before. Every where I read says, "to leave it alone." When he complained I pulled his foreskin back just to the tip and noticed that it is really red and irritated. Does anyone have any advice? Do I need to take him to his pediatrician?
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I suspect that congratulations are in order instead of a visit to the doctor. Itching is normal when separation begins and even some local inflamation that lasts a day or two. There may be several bouts of this before separation is complete. If the inflamation lasts more than 2-3 days without seeing a turn around, then it may be time to see the doctor. We have had many mothers here with the same thing and all have come back and reported "All's well."

The normal color of the intact glans is very red and even purplish red. This is alarming for many American mothers because all they have ever seen is the grayish pink color of the circumcised glans. I suspect what you are seeing is totally normal.

When the separation begins, it is not always even and there may be spots that are still connected while the areas around it are loose. The spot is being pulled and what is slight pain is interpreted as itching by the child. This pulling causes slight trauma and even microscopic tears in the inner skin or glans and that is what causes redness or even slight swelling. These tears are so small that they heal very quickly and don't even bleed.

Keep an eye on it and let us know what happens.

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Liz- I don't think what you describe sounds "normal"... but it also doesn't sound alarming to me, he might have a yeast infection (has he been on antibiotics? hitting the sweets etc... anything you can think of that might have caused a yeast infection?) It also might be a type of contact dermatitis- caused by something like a bubble bath or new laundry soap, pool chemicals, etc.

I have heard stories from intact guys who had experimented masturbating with a product not formulated as a sexual lubricant who would up giving themselves a whopper of a skin irritation the next day from whatever chemicals were in there... it's possible, I'm assuming that he bathes solo by now, that your son might have washed with a soap that didn't agree with him and that was the cause.

If it does not subside in the next day or so, go to the Dr and get a culture done. I have heard of kids getting a staph infection of the penis (I think one mom here reported that) but mostly it's either yeast or contact irritation. Whatever is causing it, it will fall under the diagnosis "Balanitis" or Balanoposthitis" (sp?) and both of those are fancy ways of saying "Inflamed penis head" or "Inflamed penis head and foreskin" they don't give any info on what is actually causing the inflamation... so don't take "Balanitis" as a diagnosis with antibiotics to cure... if it's yeast- obviously that won't help- so just ask for a swab so you know what is actually at the root of it and you know that the treatment is helping and not hurting.

Hope he feels better soon, and if you do have a chance to stop back with the update- it's always good for other moms to hear the treatment and resolution, so they can remember this if they ever encounter something similar.

Love Sarah
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please let us know how your little guy is doing.

Sarah that was very informative. I copied it to my personal folder just in case I ever need it for my grandson #2 ( to be born Feb. 2004 and to be left au natural of course!)
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Well, it's hard to say if it's better or not? When I first noticed it, I put a tiny bit of neosporin on it and took a shower with him to rinse it off a little (with just water). He had never seen himself retracted before and became very fascinated with it. I think he may have irritated himself more by retracting it on it's own several times after this because it was new and fun.

After getting your advice, I had him stop pulling it back because I was afraid that he might irritate himself worse. I put a little bit of desitin on the outside tip of his foreskin because that area is red too. ( I think from all of the retracting by my son).

It has been two days and he hasn't complained about it. I just looked at it right now and the foreskin isn't red anymore, the very tip of his penis is slightly red under the hole, but it doesn't look as bad.

The fact that he's not complaining or itching it anymore makes me feel better. I'm going to wait and see if it bothers him again. It does concern me that it could be an infection so if it shows any sign of bothering him again soon, I'll definitely take him in to the pediatrician.

Thanks for all the advice and I post more if things get worse or I find anything else out.

Mama Liz
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It sounds like everything is normal and he is pretty much fully retractable. The redness you described is not unusual and I suspect all will be well in a couple of days.

Your son will not hurt himself in retracting his foreskin and if that's what he wants to do, let him do it. If he is able and willing, the time has come. Congratulations on your son reaching this milestone!

I noticed that my grandson's very tip of the foreskin, which is fully retracted since he was 5, always has a bit of a reddish color to it. I believe for him that is his normal coloring. It may be the same for your son.
Also his foreskin at the tip does no longer have the very tight mechanism, it is a bit flaccid, sort of wrinkled and, well, just like it could be pulled back easily.
So, I suspect that the looks, and coloring can vary from child to child and if there is no discomfort and he urinates all right, that everything is as it should be.
My almost 2 year old ds is also nor circumcised and the tip of his foreskin has always been a little pink. He has never had any problems with itching and I have not been retracting it at all. I guess this is normal because his has been that way for as long as I can recall.
Megan 8.10.99
Jacob 10.22.01
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