About 64% of boys in the United States undergo circumcision, which is the removal of the male foreskin. In some cultures, the procedure is a tradition, but in the United States it’s up to the parents whether or not to circumcise their baby.
As a parent, you make your decision based on your own personal, religious, and cultural beliefs. At First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina, Dr. Margaret Lubega can weigh in on your decision by answering your medical questions.
Dr. Lubega has much experience in performing circumcisions and uses the most sterile conditions. Infection is rare, but possible; fewer than 1 out of every 200 circumcised boys experience this complication.
Most circumcision-related infections are mild and easily treatable, but treatment is important. Here are signs of infection so you know when to see your pediatrician.
Circumcision is a simple, in-office procedure during which the doctor removes the penile foreskin. Usually, the procedure is done soon after your baby is born and within the first month of life. Sometimes, circumcision is performed on older babies if early circumcision wasn’t possible.
Circumcision offers many benefits. It makes the penis easier to keep clean for caregivers and the child himself.
Plus, circumcision nearly eliminates the lifetime risk of penile cancer, greatly reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, eliminates phimosis, and reduces incidences of balanitis, which is an infection of the head and glands of the penis.
Healing of circumcision
At first, the circumcision incision will be red and tender. It may look slightly swollen and you may even notice a small amount of blood in the diaper. Your baby should find it less sore by day three. A little yellow discharge or a white film may also be noticeable after a few days and is completely normal.
Caregivers should keep the area clean, using warm water and mild soap, if needed. Do not use baby wipes as they can be irritating.
If your son’s circumcision site has a dressing, replace it every time you change the diaper for the first few days. A dab of petroleum jelly placed on the penis — while using a dressing and even after the dressing is removed — can help avoid the sensitive organ from rubbing or sticking to the diaper.
Crusting and a scab forms at the incision line, and it falls off naturally in seven to 10 days. At this point the circumcision is healed.
Signs of infection
The penis has a rich blood supply, so infection is not common. But, if you suspect one – it’s critical you call our office right away. Early treatment prevents the infection from worsening and allows for easy treatment with antibiotics.
Watch for the following signs of infection:
- Redness that worsens over time and extends up the shaft of the penis
- Fever that rises over 101.5 degrees F
- Foul smelling, cloudy discharge coming from the tip of the penis
- Unusual lethargy or irritability
- Poor feeding
The penile area is wet and enclosed and susceptible to stool contamination, so keeping the area clean is critical. But, even with the best efforts, your child may experience infection.
If you’re considering circumcision for your newborn, or your baby recently had one and you’re concerned about infection, contact us here at First Pediatric Care Center. Call us today or use the online tool to schedule your visit.