As the parent of a young boy, you might find few things as concerning as having your son come to you and complain that his penis hurts. You may find yourself even more concerned if you discover that there's redness and swelling under the foreskin. This is often caused by a condition such as balanitis or balanoposthitis, both of which involve inflammation and infection of the head of the penis. Balanoposthitis is marked by infection that also affects the foreskin. Here's a look at what you need to know to identify and address this type of infection in your child.
What Are the Symptoms?
An infection like this usually begins with some mild discomfort in the penis. The earliest stages are often noticed while urinating because retracting the foreskin to urinate will cause some pain. The early redness in the glans, or head of the penis, will also become evident around this time.
As the condition progresses, which can happen quite quickly, the glans may start to swell, causing a bulging appearance through the foreskin. When the infection is caused by bacteria, it can also cause the development of a yellowish-white discharge from the area.
How Is It Treated?
Treating balanitis or balanoposthitis starts with determining the root cause of the problem. The treatment recommendation will be different depending on the cause, so it is essential to seek medical attention. The attending physician will evaluate the condition of your child's penis, including checking for any discharge. He or she will likely also ask about when the symptoms started and about any unusual exposures that may have contributed to the problem.
In the case of a condition like this caused by bacteria, the only way to effectively treat the issue is with antibiotics. Sometimes, a problem is caused by an overabundance of yeast. In those situations, the condition is treated with a topical cream designed to eliminate yeast or even a routine of oral tablets. In the case of infection caused by allergies or other problems, sometimes a steroid cream is recommended.
What Can Be Done to Prevent It?
Because of the nature of the infection, the easiest way to completely prevent it is through circumcision. If your child struggles with repeated infections, your primary-care doctor may actually suggest this as a way to ease the problem. In most cases, this is only recommended if the infections are the result of a particularly tight foreskin or one with a small opening that makes it difficult to retract.
In other situations, the best solution is daily bathing. By your son's taking a bath every day, it can be ensured that there is no buildup of bacteria under the foreskin that could contribute to an infection. For even more benefit, add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the bathwater.
If your child is showing symptoms like those of balanitis or balanoposthitis, talk with a primary-care doctor, such as one at Choice Medical Group, right away for diagnosis and treatment.