CHILDRENS PROBLEMS: BALANITIS

Balanitis is the medical term for inflammation of the head of the penis and, more commonly, the foreskin. The term is also occasionally used for inflammation of the clitoris and the sheath surrounding it. Often associated with poor hygiene, balanitis can also occur through trauma (the penis-zipper entrapment syndrome – as it sounds!), infections including herpes (although this is rare in infants) and, most importantly, make sure diabetes mellitus can be ruled out. In this latter situation, sugar in the urine allows bacteria and yeasts to multiply rapidly causing irritated inflammation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Ensure that the area is clean and that nappies or underwear are dry. Use non-medicated talcum powder in abundance.

Slowly, but surely, retract the foreskin as the child ages. Do not force the retraction but by the age of nine months the foreskin should be fully retractable. Then clean this VIP (very important place) every bathtime.

Ointments containing Calendula can be very soothing. Being careful and tender, try to introduce some of the cream or lotion under the foreskin if it is not easily retractable.

The homeopathic remedies Apis, Mercurius and Causticum can be reviewed and given every 2hr at potency 6.

Persistence of inflammation should be reviewed by a GP and in rare circumstances circumcision may need to be considered .

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