Easy Cure for Red, Swollen Foreskin, Balanitis

I'm debating the need for a disclaimer as the title should be warning enough, but just in case, "this post contains gross stuff."

Our oldest son was circumcised on the recommendations of his doctor. A year or two later, new research threw some of the facts he gave us out the window, so we did not circumcise our younger son. To date, they haven't had any major confusion over the difference.

This isn't a post on the good or bad, or whether you should or shouldn't have it done however. It's a post on potential problems, and what to do if your uncircumcised child winds up feeling discomfort "down there."

As a mom, I'm accurately afraid of breaking my son's penis. I still remember how nervous I was when our first son was a newborn and needed a sponge bath. I didn't even touch him, just wrung out a washcloth over his junk ... too afraid to break something off. :p

The youngest is something different entirely. I don't have a penis, but neither of the other men in this house have a foreskin either, so we're entering uncharted territory. Last night was a learning experience more and more mothers are going to live through if the trend toward not circ'ing continues.

The youngest came to me and said, "My penis hurts when I pinch it." Men. Why do they pinch it? Okay, so I know him well enough to know he's doing this at other time with no problems so I have to take a look. What I saw really worried me. His foreskin was very red and swollen. He was having a hard time retracting, and there was a cloudy liquid coming out the tip.

If we had a better hospital, we probably would have gone to the emergency room, but we don't. (They have candy machines right outside the waiting area. How stupid is that? What? So every child who's sick can infect every child who's not? Makes no sense...but I digress.)

Instead I got online, and my first stop was Mothering.com where the message board mamas declared the first step was washing thoroughly with warm soapy water and air drying.

Poppycock, I thought. (No pun intended.) Don't they understand the health of his pepe is at stake?! The more I read though, the more I read that same advice and eventually decided to give it a try.

The bonus is that this is something my son had no trouble doing. After soaking in a warm bath for awhile, his foreskin was much easier to pull back and he did all the cleaning himself, then hopped out and ran around the house while he air dried.

We woke up this morning to no hint of redness or swelling. THANK YOU Mothering.com moms. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, and while I would have preferred never having to deal with this problem, I am very happy to report it was easily dealt with.

I can see some children being very apprehensive about going to their parents with this kind of problem, but this is also a solution that they can take care of on their own. You might want to talk to your boys now, before it happens. From what I understand, if it isn't treated right away, it can get worse and require ointments ... and we all know how wonderful that is. :/


zamozo said...

Ah, yes. I dealt with this issue many years ago with my uncirced son. A gentle washing with gentle retraction of the foreskin always took care of the problem. I believe it is just an issue of bacterial build up. I used to use a mild natural anti-microbial wash that I bought at our Natural Groceries store but I can't, for the life of me, remember what it's name was. Poor tots. Glad it's easily fixed if caught early. Regular, gentle cleansing when bathing ought to prevent further issues I'd think.

Anonymous said...

Hi. As one of the uncircumcised, and a nurse, it sounds like you've done exactly the right thing to me. Just mild soap and warm water will do the trick. If it still seems red, you might need to switch from soap to some non-soap cleanser. In Australia we have a product called QV Wash which is great for those sensitive to soap.

Other mild irritations respond really well to Aloe Vera gel. Give that a try too!

Hilary said...

Thanks for chiming in, Colin. It's always good to get a man's take on the situation.

You too, Chris, umm, well, you know what I mean. :p Not that man part so much as another mom who has been through the process. ;)

Anonymous said...

I know that this comment won't be approved, but I still want you to read it anyway. What kind of moron doesn't know that you should wash his "pepe" with warm soapy water? What were you doing previously? That's just basic hygiene 101. Scary to know that this was post worthy for you!

Hilary said...

No, no, dear. I'm afraid you've missed the point. It's amazing that this condition ONLY required warm, soapy water and not some invasive treatment after the big hubbub made by those who claim its so difficult to deal with.

Thanks for stopping by!