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Child grabbed penis and pinched. Noticed bruise. What can this be?

Feb 2013
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Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 3176 Questions
My 3 year old son grabbed his penis and pinched it and bruised it but the doctor said its non accidental, even though (as he is always playing with himself) he has done it before not as bad as me or a family member has seen him do it and stopped him but this time he was in another room and we walked in on him squeezing it, why has he done this, they say he couldn't have but we witnessed it. question is can a 3 year old pinch his privet parts and bruise them himself? even though we know he has, could this have been done out of temper or stress as he also twisted and bruised his ear. Could this be classed as self harm as he has been through a lot of stress recently.
Posted Sun, 11 Aug 2013 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. E Venkata Ramana 30 minutes later

Thank you for your query on Healthcare Magic.

Children around this age usually play and explore their private (genital parts).

This is a common and normal age related phenomenon which will settles down as the age grows.

But coming to making injuries by self, it is usually uncommon in normally healthy and coherent children.

Some times, if there is local skin irritation is severe enough due to some local allergy or infection, the child may scratch, squeeze, or rub the area which in turn leads to local injury.

Self harming is seen in children with significant emotional and behavioral problems such as severe temper tantrums, mental retardation, stress and anger.

First I advise you to look for any local problems of his penis like any skin allergy, infection signs such as redness of skin, which will cause irritation leading to scratching.

At the same time look for any behavioral problems such as tantrums.

If the behavior and self harming is repetitive or persistent, I advise you to consult the pediatrician for physical examination and to screen for any underlying physical and psychological causes.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any clarification please let me know.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child grabbed penis and pinched. Noticed bruise. What can this be? 12 minutes later
As far as Im aware there is no skin codition but he has been under a lot of stress recently. It was a build up to this as his personality changed leading up to the event, he hasn't seem to have hurt himself since could this have been because he realised that he physically harmed himself and realised that this was wrong?
Answered by Dr. E Venkata Ramana 2 hours later

Thank you for getting back.

Self harming is definitely an abnormal behavior.

But children will play with their genitals, scratch or pinch but the extent will be in a way that they will stop doing this things till they get pain.

But try to look for the causes of his stress and try to calm the child.

Stress in children will leads to temper tantrums, anger, and frustration due to which they may develop abnormal behaviors.

At the same time look for the other causes for this type of injuries.

Try to ignore the behavior.

Time-out procedures will help to decrease this type of behaviors.

I advise you to take the help of your pediatrician in the evaluation of this problem.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any clarification please let me know.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child grabbed penis and pinched. Noticed bruise. What can this be? 14 hours later
I am following up the above as follows.

Although he is intuitively bright and “Billy Whizz/Road-Runner” fast and “Evil Knievel” recklessly oblivious to danger - particularly in new situations with heightened excitability, despite being appropriately & consistently verbally-challenged/disciplined regarding his behaviour – to the jaw-dropping amazement of most observers, including Police Officers who could not catch him simply to restrain him for his own safety and such that we still need to put him in reins whilst out in public and initially in school to get him to respond to advice/direction, he is nevertheless a slow learner in certain key respects, e.g. slow speech development/walking yet good at counting/planning.

He is also somewhat clumsy and accident-prone due to unusual knee-joint flexibility which we are told he will grow out of but are concerned he may be (mildly) dyspraxic as a fourth-cousin suffers from that, with resultant frequent cuts & bruises all over his body, particularly his head due to running into/climbing up & falling off obstacles as if he has restricted field of vision and/or general fearlessness, apparently not learning from his misadventures; &/or from petit mal/other trance fit/seizure on at least four occasions as witnessed by ourselves and other family members, such that he ends up with “Exorcist” contorted face whilst squeezing his penis/genitals so hard that he causes severe bruising yet which he is unaware of the pressure/pain inflicted at the time, hence such bruising being easily misconstrued as only capable of infliction by an adult as NAI/abuse as previously wrongly-alleged and disproved.

The first of these was shortly after coming out of that resultant care situation and most recently done in protest at being encouraged to see his selfish & angrily-resentful if not abusive blood-father who has been consistently alleged by sister to have forced her to perform oral sex on him and whose ex-partner has commented likewise about her own son by him.

Consequently, in addition to previous less serious disruption in Nursery, he has recently also been unusually disruptive despite knowing right from wrong, on numerous occasions throwing hard/heavy objects at us parents & other close relatives of whom he is extremely fond, including 7-year-old sister with whom he also sometimes fights, favourite Aunt, & others, including Police Officers who he has also kicked& punched when forced to attend hospital for previous mistaken care proceedings medical examination in him expressing his frustration/ preference to be with his parents, though generally simply finding peoples’ reactions funny/highly amusing in pushing his luck & testing boundaries.

Do these symptons/patterns suggest he needs to be assessed by an Educational Psychologist in terms of any Special Eduactional Needs he may have?

Ditto re. a Behavioural Psychologist given the severe mental/emotional disruption/stress caused by the series of recenttraumatic events ?

Do you have any other recommendations in the light of the above ?

Can you recommend any further Expert Medical Witnesses who would be willing to contest the latest incorrect GP allegation of NAI by an adult ?
Answered by Dr. E Venkata Ramana 6 hours later

Thank you for getting back.

With your description the child looks having the following problems:

Hyperactivity and aggressive behavior

Risky and accident prone behavior

Self-harming behavior

Disruptive behavior

Seizures and developmental delay

Traumatic events in the early childhood leads to severe mental, psychological, and physical consequence in the later life.

Child needs a protective environment, where he will get care, education, a proper shelter, and treatment for the inappropriate behaviors.

These patterns of behaviors should be evaluated systematically by a team of pediatrician, child psychiatrist, child psychologists, social workers, and family counselors with the help of legal authority.

I advise you to consult the children specialist first to assess his behaviors and for physical examination to look for the signs of any child abuse or non-accidental injury followed by referral to the multidisciplinary team consisting of psychiatrist and psychologist.

Hope I have answered your query, if you have any clarification please let me know.

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