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Penile Adhesion in Baby Boys – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Penile adhesion is what medical experts refer to as prepuce adhesion. It is a condition where a baby’s foreskin attaches to glans found at the end of the penis. The skin can attach anywhere around the glans and can cause sexual problems when left untreated and a baby grows to become an adult.

Some of the problems that the condition can cause include fusion of the foreskin, which makes it difficult/impossible for a baby to urinate and accumulation of bacteria, which increases risk of infections in the penis. Penile adhesion can also lead to tethering of the penis when a baby boy erects, causing a baby severe pain.

Penile adhesion is one of the most ignored conditions by mothers yet it affects about 25% baby boys around the world. Indeed many mothers never realize or notice that their baby boys have the condition. This stems from the fact that mothers and in particular first-time mothers to baby boys are usually not well prepared on how to handle or care for a baby boy’s penis.

Symptoms

It is very important that you examine your baby boy’s penis when bathing him. Pulling back the penile skin should expose the glans without necessarily hurting your baby. You need to take notice when you pull back the skin only to realize that the skin remains attached on the glans. That is a clear sign or symptom of penile adhesion.

Causes

Your baby boy can develop penile adhesion for two reasons: birth defect or because of circumcision.

Like other parts of the body, a baby boy’s penis develops when he is still in the womb. Specific hormones play a role in development of the penis and the skin that wraps it. The development involves growth of the inner epithelium of the foreskin and the epithelial skin of the glans. When a baby grows to attain age of 6 months, these two skins naturally separate. Failure in separation results in penile adhesion.

It is also possible that your baby boy can develop penile adhesion because of circumcision. Regardless of circumcision method employed, incision of the foreskin does separate the skins but it is possible that part of the remaining foreskin re-attaches to the glans, resulting in penile adhesion. It is very important that you are educated on how to handle and care for your baby’s circumcised penis to enable you prevent development of the condition. Part of caring for your baby’s circumcised penis involves retracting the remaining skin to prevent re-attachment of the same.

It is very important to note that the head of baby boy’s penis that will remain functional throughout his life is one that should look like a mushroom with a clear line without any skin attachment between the head and the shaft.

Treatment

Penile adhesion can be minor or severe. While some minor adhesion do resolve on their own without any medical intervention, others and severe cases do require use of techniques that resolves the attachment. You can indeed employ the technique at home unless you fear that you can hurt your baby.

The most recommended technique involves holding your baby’s penis in your hands gently with one of your thumbs on the adhesion (attachment) and the other thumb on the glans. Your index fingers should be under both your thumbs to support the penis. Resolving the adhesion involves pulling the adhesion from the adhesion with one thumb while the other thumb pushes the glans away from the adhesion so as to make it loose. You need to employ this technique after bathing when the skin is still soft, which should lead to complete separation of the skin from the glans.

You may also choose to retract the skin on the shaft every time you bathe your baby and when you change diapers. Doing this on a regular basis should loosen the attachment, leading to complete separation.

Prevention

When left unaddressed, penile adhesion can cause a baby to develop low self esteem and confidence when he eventually grows up to be a man. He will be bound to always feel insecure especially when it comes to socializing with girls and will probably fear sharing his penile problem with his friends and family members. It is therefore very necessary to prevent occurrence of penile adhesion on your baby.

The first step to preventing the condition is to understand how a healthy penis should look like. A pediatrician should readily educate you on this in addition to how to care for your baby boy’s penis. It is also very important that you know how to care for circumcised penis so as to prevent re-attachment of part of the remaining skin.

The second step to preventing the condition relates to when to have your baby boy circumcised. It is really not proper to have your baby circumcised soon after birth. This view is supported by American Academy of Pediatrics that is of the opinion that circumcision of infants increases the risk of such infants developing the condition. It is ideal to wait for your boy to turn at least three years before subjecting him to circumcision.

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