Balanitis is a very common infection in babies. When a baby is sick, whole house feels sick. To prevent these common infections, we need to know about these diseases. Here is some information about the symptoms, causes, treatment and preventions about one of these diseases i.e. “balanitis”.
What is balanitis?
“-itis” means inflammation. Balanitis means irritation of the skin of the head of the penis.it is known as foreskin. It is more common in uncircumsized boys. The reason behind this is that the fold of skin keeps the beneath moist and warm. it is an optimum environment for the growth of various bacteria and fungus. It causes swelling, redness and itching on the head of the penis.
Common causes of balanitis
1. Poor hygiene
Proper hygiene has to be maintained. This infection is mainly caused due to the accumulation of sweat and urine below the skin. Thus this area should be cleaned properly. For babies, cotton underwear should be used since it allows the skin to breathe properly. Also wet underwear should be changed immediately. Diapers should be used but even they should be changed frequently. It is not recommended to use diapers for more than 12 hrs.
2. Urinary infections
chronic urinary infections may cause balanitis. The bacteria causing urinary tract infection may cause irritation of the head of the penis. it happens due to accumulation of urine below the skin. Hence the skin here should be cleaned properly.
sometimes harsh chemicals in the soap, shampoo and oils may cause irritation of the head of the penis of the baby. This may be prevented by using natural soaps to clean the area. Also emollients can be used. Moisturising the skin will prevent the infections
4. Skin conditions
Many times skin conditions which cause dry skin may cause irritation of the skin. Skin diseases like eczema and psorois may cause irritation of the skin. Due to these diseases the skin becomes excessively dry causing inflammation. For preventing this, skin should be kept properly moisturised
5. Children fiddling with foreskin-
Sometimes children without knowing may fiddle with their foreskin continuously. This may cause transmission of bacteria from the fingers to the foreskin. Also it may cause irritation of skin causing tearing of the skin. So children should be well informed about their genitals and how to take care about each part.
6. Nappy rash
diaper rash is common in children. If it is a recurrent infection the chances of your baby getting balanitis increases a lot. Hence use cotton clothes whenever possible. Change your diaper brand if it is persistent. Do not use diaper longer than recommended time.
you may sometimes notice white cottage cheese like growth near mouth of your baby. Sometimes near armpits or penis or other sweaty areas. It is known as thrush. It is a growth of common fungus known as Candida albicans. It is also a reason of causing balanitis in babies. To prevent this, proper hygiene should be maintained.
Diabetes increases the risk of infection. Diabetes should be properly controlled. If there is presence of glucose in urine, then it creates more favourable environment for the growth of the bacteria and fungi. Hence if your child is suffering from juvenile diabetes then management of diabetes is very essential.
phimosis is very tight foreskin. If foreskin is not retractable, it may increase the risk of infections. Consult your doctor as soon as possible if this is the condition is present with your baby.
- Fever and chills– if there is presence of bacterial infection, then there are lots of chances that your baby might have high fever followed by chills. If there is persistent fever, consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Sore penis– your child may complaint of pain in the penis. Do not ignore it. Look for other symptom that might indicate to balanitis. Or consult your doctor.
- Redness and swollen penis– penis becomes red and swollen. it is sure sigh of inflammation. There are four signs of inflammation redness, paleness, swelling and increasing in temperature. If this symptom is also present along with the above two, then it indicates that there is inflammation.
- Itchiness– your child might constantly touch this penis and scratch it. Do not ignore it. Ask him for other symptoms and the time from when he is suffering. Consult your doctor if it is persistant.
- Burning sensation while urinating– it is a symptom of urinary tract infection, the infection of head of penis as well as simple low intake of water. So you should make sure that your child drinks enough amount of water. This will produce less concentrated urine and lower the chances of irritation of the urinary tract as well as the head of the penis. Thus burning sensation while urinating should never be ignored.
- Pus from penis– it is a serious condition. Consult your doctor immediately. Pus from the head of penis is sure sign of infection and pus from urine indicates that it is a infection of urinary tract. Both conditions require proper medical attention.
- Unpleasant smell– unpleasant smell of urine may indicate infection. Many bacteria which use gas other than oxygen produce unpleasant smell. This shows the presence of bacteria. Hence suggesting infection
- Swollen glands near penis– our body have its own mechanism to fight the pathogens. It produces more and more white blood cells to fight the pathogens. In this process the lymph nodes which produce the white blood cells, swell as they become hyperactive. It indicated the infection near the genital area.
- Antibiotics– if your child is suffering from bacterial infection doctors may give you antibiotics. Complete the course of antibiotics. Leaving the course in between may cause recurrence of the infection.
- Steroids– if it is a fungal infection, doctors may suggest topical antifungal ointment or topical steroids to reduce the inflammation. Take the dose as prescribed.
- Cleaning with antiseptic– clothes should be washes with dettol or any other antiseptic to prevent further spread. Proper hygiene should be maintained. If not any antiseptic, the you can soak the clothes in salt water for 10-15 mins and then wash thoroughly.
- Maintaining hygiene– clothes should be washed thoroughly. Natural clothing material like cotton should be preferred. The genital areas should be cleaned and moisturised properly. Harsh soaps should be avoided.
- Completing antibiotic dose– if prescribes any antibiotics dose should be completed to prevent any further recurrent attacks.
- Clean underwear– undergarments should be changed from time to time. Moist or wet garments should not be used.
- Changing diaper frequently– diaper should not be used more than the recommended time.
- Using an emollient– emollient are the creams, soaps which helps to retain the moisture on the skin. They should be used if baby is very sensitive to the chemicals in the soap.
- Drying the skin after bathing– after bathing baby, make sure to throughly dry the all the parts. Moisture is favourable condition for fungi as well as bacteria.
This was some information about balanitis; hope it will help you to protect your baby from any such infections. Do not stress about it, consult your doctor and maintain proper hygiene. Remember hygienic lifestyle, avoids maximum diseases.