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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

My little son gets his penis swollen often

12/15/2004

Question:

My three year old boy had had this year three times his penis swollen and reddish. The time that the penis last in this condition may vary but at least some hours have to pass by. It is painful but doesn`t really bother him to urinate. He is not circumcised but we have been always very careful about his cleaning habits. So far, during this year he has had some tests done and I`ve been told that everything came normal....but this has been so recurrent that I`m sure his doctor may be missing something...What could be the causes for my son`s situation? What kind of infection he might have??? Should I consider get him circumcised? I need your advice!!! Thanks!

Answer:

Penile swelling and redness is a common issue in uncircumcised boys, especially if they are still in diapers. This redness may not be a true bacterial infection but may be a localized yeast infection or perhaps skin irritation due to being constantly wet. Often this may be related to contaminants that may be contained within the foreskin which normally is adherent to the glans, or head, of the penis in early childhood.

Though circumcision is often recommended, it may not be necessary. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a short course of steroid cream. This approach, which involves applying standard steroid creams used by dermatologists for skin rashes, when applied a few times a day for a month or so, can allow complete separation of the foreskin from the glans allowing complete daily cleansing.

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Response by:

Rama   Jayanthi, MD Rama Jayanthi, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Urology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University