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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure if this the forum to post. Moderators, please redirect if necessary.

My son is 4 yo (and almost 1/2 according to him) and he is intact. His foreskin does not retract at all yet (which isn't really a concern for me). However, he gets recurring infections on his penis. Usually, I apply neosporin on the tip and it heals up but once he was on a course of oral antibiotics (his only time ever) for a bad and very, very painful case of BALANTIS (not phimosis as I originally wrote). We try to be preventative by having him carefully rinse the soap off of his penis after bath, as we think this is what is causing the irritation. It is red and painful again tonight (and last night too) so I think we need to take him to the pedi tomorrow. I don't think we're there yet, but I am worried that if this continues, his pedi will recommend circumcision for recurring phimosis.

Is there anything I can do to prevent these irritations and infections? Anything to add to his bath? Anything? It is painful for him and VERY, VERY painful when he got a full-blown case of phimosis (red, swollen, pussy, painful to even have sweatpants brush it, etc.). I don't want him to have to keep dealing with this and I don't think circumcision is the answer. So what is?

Thanks mamas!
 

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Step 1: Stop using Soap. Just use water

Step 2: Change the detergent you use on his underwear. Strip them like you would a cloth diaper if you have to

Step 3: Make sure he SHAKES or Dabs after urinating.

Step 4: If he's in diapers still at night, put a barrier cream on the end of his penis before bed. Big Kid urine is more concentrated than baby urine, especially at night.

To clear it up NOW: Add some baking soda and Tea Tree Oil to his bath.

To prevent it in the future: Change laundry detergents, NO Soap on the genitals, and dont let him soak in the soapy water, best to rinse him off using a shower.
 

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Phimosis? It can't be phimosis in a child that age. Who has told you this?

I think people here have better ideas than neosporin, but not having any penis problems here (other than the circumcision caused ones with my dh
I am not the pro here on that. I'm sure some folks will be around & be helpful soon though. Hope he feels better, & keep that ped away from his parts!
 

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This doesn't make any sense to me. Do you know what phimosis is? All it means in a small child is that his penis is not yet retractable. It has nothing to do with any kind of infection and does not need to be treated in any way. Here's a link with a good definition:

http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic423.htm

But since you say he's got such bad symptoms, there is definitely something going on. But it's NOT phimosis.

Go to the ped and ask them to do a culture -- not just give you antibiotics. It could just as easily be a recurrent yeast problem and antibiotics will only make that worse. As will antibiotic cream like neosporin, I think?

Just don't let them retract his foreskin AT ALL when they do the culture. If it is actualy an infection, you don't want them to cause any kinds of tearing for the infection to get into.

But above all, don't let them tell you it's phimosis cuz that's just silly and would make me wonder if the doc had actually been to medical school at all.

--Olive
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by l_olive View Post
This doesn't make any sense to me. Do you know what phimosis is? All it means in a small child is that his penis is not yet retractable. It has nothing to do with any kind of infection and does not need to be treated in any way. Here's a link with a good definition:

http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic423.htm

But since you say he's got such bad symptoms, there is definitely something going on. But it's NOT phimosis.

Go to the ped and ask them to do a culture -- not just give you antibiotics. It could just as easily be a recurrent yeast problem and antibiotics will only make that worse. As will antibiotic cream like neosporin, I think?

Just don't let them retract his foreskin AT ALL when they do the culture. If it is actualy an infection, you don't want them to cause any kinds of tearing for the infection to get into.

But above all, don't let them tell you it's phimosis cuz that's just silly and would make me wonder if the doc had actually been to medical school at all.

--Olive
ITA. This is not phimosis -- phimosis is the (normal) adhesion between the foreskin and the glans. This is something else, and it needs a culture to get to the bottom of it. Have them swab the tip of the penis and culture it for yeast and bacteria. My guess would be yeast, especially if soap causes irritation -- just like in a female, soap can upset the bacterial balance of the foreskin (similar tissues to the vulva/vagina) and allow yeast to take hold, causing redness, irritation, itching, etc.)

You might also think about keeping a food diary and seeing if there are any links between his diet and his penis soreness.

In the meantime, like a PP said, avoid all soap if it's irritating! You might also try changing over to a super-gentle soap like California Baby that doesn't have any fragrance in it at all. Make sure that the wash is rinsing clean (run another rinse and lift the lid to see if there are any suds, if so, you're using too much detergent). Do an extra rinse on a regular basis, and switch to a fragrance-free detergent.

Whatever you do, don't even let the doctor bring up the topic of circumcision! I've had yeast infections, my mom has had serious vaginal irritation issues that she traced to her laundry detergent...and no one ever suggested cutting any of our genitals off to solve the problem!
 

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It sounds like what happened to my DS. He was getting recurring raw patches on his scrotum, thighs, and penis, then his foreskin swelled up. The doc (of course) suggested circ, but I ignored her and refused the abx they pushed at me (as they flat-out refused to culture). I figured out on my own that it was a yeast infection caused by a food allergy. I would pick up a box of yeast cream (yes it says vaginal, but it will work) and put it on there twice a day, as well as keeping a food diary.

RUN FROM ANY DOCTOR WHO TELLS YOU IT'S PHIMOSIS.

RUN SCREAMING FROM ANY DOCTOR WHO RECOMMENDS OR EVEN MENTIONS CIRCUMCISION!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I didn't mean phimosis - I meant balinitis. Sorry, I am a VERY sleep deprived mama and was confusing the terms. My pedi never said phimosis - that came from my tired brain.

My pedi did a culture when it was VERY bad and determined it to be bacterial (this was about six months ago). It cleared up within a day of the antibiotics so I felt comfortable with that decision. It was the first time in four years that she recommended antibiotics for anything and, given the look of his penis and the pain he was in, I think it was the wise thing to do.

Per our pedi's advice, we stopped using soap on his penis and we don't let him sit in a soapy bath. So, he plays first, then gets washed, then he rinses his penis under the water. He really likes his bath so I'm not sure of another way to do it. We use california baby or a natural bar from Whole Foods, but I think they both are scented. I'll switch to unscented and I'll strip his underwear (of detergent). That's a great idea and if it was happening to him while in cloth it would be my first idea. I'll also add some drops of TTO and some baking soda to his bath when it starts to get red.

Sorry for the confusion about the phimosis. Thanks for the concern about that. When I looked it up on the internet I'd be mad at hell if my pedi said that!

Any other suggestions, now that you know it is balanitis?
 

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Personally I'd avoid the TTO. I know many people swear by it but I personally think it's very harsh and irritating, plus I just read that lavender and TTO both may have estrogenic effects.


I would get rid of any scented things....soap, laundry detergent, dryer sheets/softeners, anything chemical like that. Make sure his underwear is 100% cotton (organic if at all possible) and that it's changed promptly if he's wet. (My ds, also 4, often gets too busy to make it to the potty on time and has damp underwear as a result....)

How often does he get a bath? Every night? That might be part of the problem, even if you're not using soap, because it's washing away the protective oils and bacteria.

If there's another full-blown infection, you also might have the doctor culture the penis for the specific type of bacteria to make sure the antibiotic prescribed is the right one, and make sure he takes it for the full 10-day course to make sure you're getting rid of the bug, not just knocking it back a little and letting it simmer on the back burner.

You might consider contacting Dr. Paul Fleiss and/or Marilyn Milos (head of NOCIRC, and an RN) to see if they have any advice. Marilyn Milos is the "resident expert" at Mothering, you can submit a question to her at the "ask an expert" page from Mothering's main page.

ETA: Here's a medical journal article that links recurrent balanitis to too-frequent washing, and recommends an emollient cream: http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/balanitis/birley/

Here's a general page on balanitis from CIRP: http://www.cirp.org/library/disease/balanitis/
 

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Make sure that the antibiotics the dr prescibes is matched to the type of infection he has. A broad sperctrum abx will NOT do the right job. Also I highly recommend using a topical abx also matched to the type of infection.

Here is a link to proper treatment of balanitis http://www.cirp.org/library/treatment/BXO/pasieczny1/ and after reading it I dont think that is what your son has since it says

Quote:
BXO is a rare disease, occurring in men between 20 and 45 years of age. It affects the glans penis, external meatus, sulcus, and occasionally the penile shaft. Diagnostic difficulty arises when the eruption is of restricted distribution. There is a mottled or parchment-like appearance with white or ivory areas scattered throughout apparently normal tissue. There may be a stricture of the external meatus and sclerotic changes obliterating the frenum. Early lesions (especially with a long prepuce) consist of multiple moist red areas on the glans with possibly linear erosions on the mucosal surface of the prepuce
 

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This is both a little old fashioned and since I only have sisters I don't know if it was also meant for boys but here goes;

My mom always believed that sleeping in underwear caused those little infections kids get down there. Whenever one of us had the burning sensation especialy when we peed she would have us sleep without panties for awhile. She always said it needed to breath. Of course we wore night gowns and not PJs so there was alot of air circulation, your son would need to go bottomless.

I've also seen good results with drinking cranberry juice it has natural antibacterial properties, but again in girls.

Good luck hope he feels better soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by eepster View Post
My mom always believed that sleeping in underwear caused those little infections kids get down there.
I actually think that is what is causing the current irritation. He wore underwear to bed for the last two nights becasue he wore footsy PJs and we didn't want the zipper to bother him. He's in loose PJ pants tonight and no underwear. I also think that is reason to strip the underwear of detergent, as a previous poster mentioned. Thanks!
 

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That's the old hippie yeast cure, air & light & probiotics (a fan in the sunshine with yogurt
). Always worked better than Monistat for me, but regardless of whether yeast or bacteria, fresh air is a wonderful tonic for genitals. I'm agin underwear on principle.

It sounds like you like your Dr; can you print some stuff out on balanitis & non-retraction & emphasize that circ is not going to happen, let's treat the penis, not amputate it? Under those circumstances, and if you are not defensive, it could be wonderfully educational for her & do much good. (I don't know many real scientists who don't want to know the truth, & good doctors ought to be good scientists.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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Originally Posted by TigerTail View Post
It sounds like you like your Dr; can you print some stuff out on balanitis & non-retraction & emphasize that circ is not going to happen, let's treat the penis, not amputate it? Under those circumstances, and if you are not defensive, it could be wonderfully educational for her & do much good. (I don't know many real scientists who don't want to know the truth, & good doctors ought to be good scientists.)
I don't think she is going to push for circumcision at all...but she might mention it as an option if this keeps happening. I want to keep it from happening. Not because I don't want a fight with my pedi because I won't get one but because it hurts my son. She is very respectful that these are decisions made by the parents, not by the doctor. She has never tried to retract him and has no issue that he can't retract yet. When he had to be put on the antibiotics, her suggestions were very similiar to the ones posted here (no soap, keep the bath water clean, etc.). But I need to know what to do to stop this from happening to my son so that 1) he isn't in pain and 2) so that he doesn't develop scar tissue and have long-term difficulties.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2 View Post
Make sure that the antibiotics the dr prescibes is matched to the type of infection he has. A broad sperctrum abx will NOT do the right job. Also I highly recommend using a topical abx also matched to the type of infection.

Here is a link to proper treatment of balanitis http://www.cirp.org/library/treatment/BXO/pasieczny1/ and after reading it I dont think that is what your son has since it says
Balanitis and BXO are two different things. Balanitis just means inflammation of the penis (technically, the glans).
 

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: the web site I listed seemed to be saying it was the same thing
: since it said this

Quote:
Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) and kraurosis penis are thought to be synonymous
Thank you for catching that Quirky.
 

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If he's going on and off antibiotics I'd give him probiotics pills/open the capsuls and put into coolish foods like milk or applesauce - much more potent than yogurt

Regardless of if yeast or bact is your penis problem, you need to help rebalance the flora from the antibiotics.

Quote:
Personally I'd avoid the TTO. I know many people swear by it but I personally think it's very harsh and irritating, plus I just read that lavender and TTO both may have estrogenic effects.
TTO is harsh and drying to my skin, but lavender EO is very healing to me. A lot of people I know swear by lavender EO for burns and it has worked great for me too! I use vit E oils with several drops of lavender EO for all my skin ailments, but even straight the Lavender is much less irritating than the TTO. As for the estrogenic effects, almost all mainstream lotions, cream, hair conditioners, etc. contain "parabens" as preservatives and they are quite estrogenic. I wouldn't think it would be a concern for short-term use, especially if it helped.
 

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My advice:

No soap on the penis - bathe him in water and baking soda. If you want to use a soap on the rest of the body (though baking soda does quite well) stand him up in the shower and do it there.

Baking soda soaks - throw the best toys in the bath and some baking soda.

Try switching to a "free and clear" laundry soap or a hypoallergenic one (Sun and Earth makes a *GREAT* one and it still smells nice)

NO MORE NEOSPORIN. That just makes balanitis heaps worse.
 
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