Q: Good day to you, Doctor. Thank you so much for all the useful health tips and advice! Please doctor, my sister just had her baby boy circumcised in five days. The plastic ring has dropped by itself. The tip of the penis now looks very fragile. We’re thinking of applying a little bit of petroleum. Although we’ve called the pediatrician and he advised that we leave it like that. In what other ways can we keep caring for the baby to make him comfortable and aid quick healing of the penis? Thanks!
A: Thank you for writing in and for taking your job as aunty very seriously! 😀 By the way, congratulations!
Male circumcision is the removal of the fore-skin of the penis. This practice is usually tied to religious beliefs, traditions and sometimes, just personal preference. More recently, it has been suggested that circumcision may also have some medical benefits like decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections, decreased risk of urinary tract infections, decreased risk of cancer of the penis/foreskin and also better hygiene…it is that much easier to wash a circumcised penis than an uncircumcised one.
In Nigeria, this is usually done on the 8th day of life. Adult circumcisions can also happen.
Circumcision, methinks, is usually more painful for the mother than the child. I remember weeping (yes, weeping and not crying :D) shamelessly as my son was circumcised. I was too pained to even feel embarrassed at the fact that I should be not be doing that as a doctor 😀 Who cares?! 😀
Usually the penis is cleaned and an anaesthetic injection or cream applied to the penis so that baby feels no pain. A special plastic ring or clamp is then applied to the penis before the foreskin is removed. Afterwards, an ointment eg petroleum jelly is applied to the skin and it’s loosely covered with gauze.
Healing happens within 10 days and the plastic ring would fall off within this time. In the meantime, ensure baby is kept comfortable by changing the diaper often, applying a dab of ointment to the tip of the penis when changing baby’s diaper (to ensure that it is not sticking to the diaper) and fastening baby’s diaper loosely.
If the ring does not fall off after 2 weeks or you find that there is a foul smelly discharge from the penis or baby cannot urinate 12 hours after the procedure or indeed, there is persistent bleeding, please see your baby’s doctor immediately.
It does appear your nephew is healing well. I would like to assume that you meant to ask whether you should use petroleum jelly and not petroleum! What?! Please don’t get any petrol close to the baby…if you find some, please use that in your car! 😀
Where in doubt, please visit your baby’s paediatrician.
Have a good night, y’all 😀