So we are just fresh off a beach holiday and honestly this is possibly the last topic I would think to write after an awesome vacation. (More on that awesome vacation in our later posts).
However I felt that it was important for me to share our run-in or Jah’s run-in with a foreskin infection during our trip and what we did to help him. Excuse the lack of photos as the photos taken were rather private (pun intended :p)
A foreskin infection or balanitis is apparently a very common condition amongst little boys from the ages of 2 and up however there are varying and overwhelming information on how to go about handling this situation.
For starters, there are two camps on the issue – the pro-circumcision and the anti- circumcision camp. I will not be going into a discussion on this at all, rather I would just like to share what worked for us in a situation where we didn’t have access to his usual PD or an A&E that we felt we could trust.
Jah started complaining about a pain in his penis on Friday (a day into our holiday). On close inspection, we didn’t spot anything odd and figured it might have been an insect bite or a bruise that he might have gotten during a recent Sports Day event. We asked if it was painful to pee and ruled out an urinary tract infection when he said no. I started watching him closely for signs of swelling or redness and also monitored his peeing situation.
By Saturday afternoon, the boy was screaming in pain every time I tried to put on his underwear or if anything would brush or even come into slight contact with his penis. This time the sudden swelling was very obvious. The area was obviously swollen, red and very tender in fact the appearance of pus started to really freak us out. My best friend Google revealed that it was likely balanitis which we were looking at and it needed medical attention and likely a hydrocortisone cream and antibiotics for the infection.
We were more than 24 hours away from our flight home and I read enough horrors stories online about doctors not knowing the right way to examine for balanitis. I didn’t want to traumatise Jah before his PD got to see him and so the huge dilemma of whether to take him to the in house hotel doctor, a local A&E or to sit tight and wait till our return to Singapore.
We gave him a dose of ibuprofen to help with the pain and to settle him for a nap. The closest thing we had to a hydrocortisone cream at that point was his eczema cream which belonged to the same family of medicine. In desperation, we applied a thin layer for him and prayed hard that we would see some improvement after his nap.
Thankfully the pain relief worked and he rested. He also woke up to a slightly less inflamed nether region and no more pus. However the tip of his penis now had a small ‘balloon’ at the end and we started to worry if it was sealed swollen and whether he was able to pee. We only started breathing again when we witnessed him peeing without fuss.
We wanted to go to a nearby pharmacy to purchase a hydrocortisone cream for him but also read that using a cream without antibiotics might worsen the situation if it was a bacterial infection rather than a fungal infection. Thankfully we found out that organic coconut oil had anti fungal and anti bacterial properties and could be used to treat balanitis. We were fortunate that we were holidaying in a place where coconut oils were a plenty and we found a bottle of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil easily at a pharmacy.
Jah was in good spirits throughout this experience and was very happy to go for dinner, ice cream and to shop for his coconut oil and that settled us alittle. Mummy’s instinct told me that we were at least not in dire need of medical attention at that point.
We applied the coconut oil before bed that night and found that the swelling and redness had largely subsided overnight! Phew! We made it home the next evening and even managed to wait till Monday morning to take him to his PD.
A visit to his PD on Monday morning showed a marked improvement in his condition compared to the Sat photos we had taken and he was prescribed with a potassium permanganate wash as well as a hydrocortisone cream. Ironically the cream was something that he also used for his eczema but I had brought a different brand with us in the trip. *smack head*
So what lesson have I learnt through all this? Well for one I will definitely be packing some coconut oil and his hydrocortisone cream for our next trip overseas.
Some of the things we learnt and checked for
1) Could he pee as per normal? Any problems or pain peeing? This was to rule out a UTI.
2) Was he having a fever? This would suggest the infection was a lot worse and we would have then taken him to a dr or Hosp immediately.
3) Was he in a lot of pain and was that preventing him from functionally normally or sleeping. If so then give him some pain relief in the form of Panadol or ibuprofen.
4) Did the interim measures like coconut oil help? Was he in less pain and had the swelling situation improve? If the coconut oil had not made any improvements then we would also have brought him to the In-house Dr.
5) Mummy’s instinct..yes apart from the above checks, we used mummy instinct which overrules everything else above. Had I felt uncomfortable about the situation at all, we would have handed straight for medical attention.
Hopefully Jah will never have to go through that experience again but we will definitely be better equipped if it does. And I hope you never have to find this post handy 🙂