Circumcised boys will often get irritation and redness at the opening of the urethra (the small hole at the end of the penis) called meatitis. Chronic
meatitis can cause the opening of the penis to be scarred and too small. This is treated with an antibiotic ointment applied several times per day. Another problem with circumcised boys is adhesion of the skin to the head of the penis at the area of circumcision. This can be checked during a routine examination.

Uncircumcised boys can have problems with inflammation of the foreskin. If this occurs, contact your physician.

At the time of birth, the foreskin is attached to the underlying head of the penis. If your child remains uncircumcised, it should not be forcibly retracted. By the time your boy is three years old, the foreskin can usually be retracted. When the foreskin can be easily retracted, you should do this during each bath for hygiene purposes.

Testicular pain and swelling at anytime during a boy’s life is not normal. Contact your physician promptly if this occurs.


Vulvovaginitis: This is an irritation of the external genitalia usually occurring in young girls. It is sometimes caused by decreased attention to good hygiene. Bathing in bubble bath or soapy water can make this worse. Other causes of this are infections with yeast and certain types of bacteria. Treatment for this problem includes:

  1. Improved hygiene – teach your child to wipe from front to back and have her put on a clean pair of cotton underwear daily. In addition, a Sitz bath (shallow sit down bath) in warm tapwater for 10 to 15 minutes twice daily for four to five days is often helpful.
  2. If this is not helping the child, she should see her physician. A small amount of bleeding in this area with vulvovaginitis should not alarm you, but should prompt a call.


Any bulges in the groin area in both boys and girls should raise your concern about a possible hernia.

“What is a Hernia?”
A hernia is caused by a defect or small opening in the muscular abdominal wall which allows for a portion of the intestine to protrude through it, producing a bulge which is usually found in the groin area. Typically, the intestine will move easily back and forth through this opening and the bulge produced by the hernia will often appear when the intra-abdominal pressure is increased such as with crying. The bulge will often disappear when the abdomen is relaxed.

“What’s at risk?”
The danger of a hernia is that the intestine can protrude through the opening in the abdominal wall and somehow become twisted or swollen so that it is unable to return to its proper position within the abdominal cavity. When this happens, the hernia is said to be incarcerated and the bulge of a hernia becomes firm, and often red and painful. This results in intestinal obstruction and vomiting. An incarcerate hernia is a surgical emergency and the physician should be notified immediately.