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Balanitis in Children: Care Instructions


Balanitis is irritation of the head of the penis. It is more common in males who have not been circumcised. The area under the foreskin that covers the head of the penis often is warm and moist. This can cause the growth of bacteria or a fungus. This can make the penis sore, red, swollen, and itchy. Your child may also feel burning when urinating or have pus come from the penis.

Balanitis can also be caused by the chemicals in soap and some other products. Your child is more likely to get balanitis if they have diabetes.

Antibiotic cream usually clears up the problem within 2 weeks. You can prevent this problem by keeping your child's penis clean. You also can help prevent it by not using products that cause irritation.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Give your child medicine exactly as prescribed. If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Keep your child's penis clean. If your child has not been circumcised and the foreskin pulls back easily, gently pull it back to wash the penis. Don't force the skin back if it doesn't pull back easily. Use warm water. Make sure the penis is dry before your child gets dressed.
  • Wash your child's underwear with mild soap. Rinse it well.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse penis pain.
  • Your child's penis is red or swollen.
  • There is pus or other discharge coming from your child's penis.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if your child has any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.