Pediatric Balanitis

Written by heather monroe
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Balanitis is the inflammation of the glans, or head of the penis. Paediatric balanitis most often occurs in infants younger than a year. This painful condition causes severe swelling of the glans and can be quite alarming for parent and child. A candida yeast infection is the primary cause of paediatric balanitis. Thankfully, antifungal medications can quell the infection quickly with proper use.


Balanitis symptoms are quite obvious: The head of the penis is swollen, red and inflamed. The baby will be unusually fussy, and understandably so. An uncircumcised infant’s foreskin might tighten and become difficult to pull away from the swollen area. A diaper rash characterised by redness in the folds of the skin that doesn't respond to over-the-counter diaper-rash creams suggests a yeast infection. This type of diaper rash precedes balanitis.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush looks like white patches of milk stuck inside of the baby’s mouth. These patches are a symptom of oral yeast infection. As the baby swallows his food, the yeast works its way through the digestive system. When the baby urinates, yeast is expelled into the diaper, a warm, wet environment that encourages candida overgrowth. If your baby has oral thrush, don't wait for it to go away on its own: The resulting yeast infection can turn into a painful case of paediatric balanitis.


Treat this condition with an anti-yeast medication available in oral and topical forms, such as Nystatin. The paediatrician will prescribe this medication to eliminate the yeast infection causing your baby's balanitis. The paediatrician will also recommend an appropriate dosage of ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling. At home, keep the diaper area as dry as possible. Use a damp, soft washcloth instead of baby wipes, which can cause further irritation. If you're a nursing mother, the paediatrician might recommend that you use some Nystatin on your nipples if they show signs of yeast infection. Bottle nipples and pacifiers, or anything else the baby puts in his mouth on a regular basis, should be sterilised after each use. Most importantly, change the baby after each urination to help treat balanitis and prevent reoccurrence.

Older Children

Occasionally, teens can develop balanitis. If yeast is the cause, the same treatment should be followed. However, severe male yeast infections are indicative of other problems. Diabetes, certain STDs and a compromised immune system are a few underlying causes. Balanitis in sexually active teens warrants a thorough STD screening; treatment will depend on the results of that screening.


Prevent paediatric balanitis in infants by keeping the diaper area clean and dry. If you're a nursing mom experiencing nipple yeast infection, treat it promptly to prevent transmitting it to the baby. If your baby is taking antibiotic medication, check for infections that precede balanitis, such as thrush and yeast diaper rash.

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