What Every Expectant Parent Should Understand About Phimosis

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Before you make the decision whether or not to circumcise your newborn boy, it's important to understand that there are risks with either decision. Although it only happens with about a tenth of boys, phimosis is a concern for boys who are left intact. If you're not familiar with the condition, this article will help you understand what it is, how to diagnose it, and what the treatment options are.

Understanding Phimosis

Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin is too tight to properly retract. Sometimes this is caused by an opening that's too small to accommodate the glans. In that case, the foreskin will retract, but only partially because the opening stretches beyond its comfort level and cannot be pulled down around the glans.

In other cases, phimosis exhibits as a foreskin that is nearly completely closed over the glans. This type of phimosis can make urination problematic and may even lead to infections under the foreskin. If you do opt not to circumcise your little boy and he does develop an infection you may need to end up buying some urological supplies through a place like Medi-Rents & Sales Inc to help deal with the infection. 

Recognizing The Symptoms Of Phimosis

As a parent, you are the first line of defense when it comes to spotting problems like these. You'll want to watch for signs that indicate that your child's foreskin is too tight. Some of the things to watch for include the presence of a minute opening at the end of the foreskin, difficulty urinating, an inability to retract the foreskin, and even the presence of ballooning, which is the puffing up of the foreskin when urinating.

In severe cases, your child may begin to develop recurring infections. These infections occur directly under the foreskin, and they are the result of poor hygiene. Despite your best efforts at keeping your child's penis clean, the small opening can make it difficult to truly clean the area. This allows bacteria to build up, which then causes redness, swelling, and even sometimes a milky white or yellowish discharge from the penis.

Exploring the Solutions For Phimosis

If you've determined that your child has phimosis, the first place to start is with the pediatrician. He or she will do a full physical exam, evaluating the condition of the foreskin and its relation to the glans. If it appears that there is a significant problem with the retraction of the foreskin, he or she will likely refer you to a urologist for a further exam. This exam will be important for determining the best course of treatment.

If your child struggles with repeated infections under the foreskin, a condition known as balanitis, the urologist may suggest that you start with more frequent bathing. If this is the case, you may be able to also help ease the symptoms by adding some baking soda to the bath water every few days. The baking soda helps to neutralize the bacteria that causes the infections, minimizing their occurrence. In addition, the urologist may also suggest the use of a topical steroid cream to help soften the skin and allow it to stretch.

In more significant cases, the urologist might suggest putting a notch in the foreskin to open it up again. In those cases, once the notch heals, there should be further retractable movement of the foreskin. There are, however, some situations where even these solutions are insufficient. In those cases, the urologist may actually suggest that you reconsider the circumcision. Situations like this do not occur frequently, but sometimes circumcision is, in fact, the best option for resolving the problem.

If you've never heard of a condition like this before or you're not sure if you should circumcise or not, consider talking with a urologist before the baby is born. He or she can provide you with more tips for spotting trouble signs as well providing guidance about how to proceed if you discover a problem.