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Baby on antibiotic for ear infection. Noticed inflamed penis head. How to cure this problem?

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Pediatrician, Critical Care
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 208 Questions
My son is 11 months old and has had ear infections over the last 2 months and has been on 5 antibiotics. Yesterday we noticed around the head of his penis where the head meets foreskin is inflamed and sore looking. Any toughing of that area to clean it he crys otherwise he has no problems with it. Today we started him on probiotics and I put some grapefruit extract on the area in case it was a yeast infection I'm just not sure what else to be doing or if I should even be doing the oil. We have let him run around for most of the day without a diaper to try and dry it out. I just need help knowing if I'm doing the right thing or if its maybe not even a yeast issue adn is something I need to be taking him in right away for.
Wed, 3 Apr 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Tejas Shah 37 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query here.

Regarding ear infection - is he still taking antibiotics? What current symptoms does he have?

In relation to your query, I would like to know if his foreskin was able to be pulled up easily before this incident. Did he have a good stream of urine? Does he have any rash/redness/swellings in surrounding areas? Is he running fever? What happens when he wants to pass urine i.e. does he scream in pain?

Infection in this area medically is termed as Balanitis. Usually, it is a bacterial skin infection, occasionally fungal/yeast infection. It is good to know you have started him on some pro-biotics considering the fact that he has been on 5 antibiotics so far for his ear infection. Grapefruit seed oil works only for fungal infection.

If it is fungal infection - it should definitely help.

However, if it is bacterial - he would need some topical antibiotic creams. They should be available in local Pharmacy over-the-counter (same creams used to prevent wound infection). His genital areas should be cleaned regularly through-out the day by water whenever he had a pee. Please keep it exposed as you are doing currently to let it dry (Nappies being wet can make it worse). I don't feel grapefruit seed oil should do any harm if it is bacterial infection.

Please do revert back to me with the answers to queries I had raised above.

Dr Tejas Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Baby on antibiotic for ear infection. Noticed inflamed penis head. How to cure this problem? 42 minutes later
In regards to his ear infections it started in his right ear then in both and now just in his left. I actually never has shown any symptoms or that it bothered him until he got a temperature from them and a bad rash. WE went to a ear nose and throat specialist about tubes but he informed us that usually they don't suggest that until you child had had an ear infection for over 3 months

In regards to his irritated skin; he has no other symptoms and no fever the only time he seems upset with this area is when I pull the skin back to either clean it or put the oil on it. I've only seen him grab for it once or twice today. I almost feel putting the oil on it has made it more red and inflamed, that or the swelling has gone down to where I can see more of the exposed red sore area, its hard to tell. It's always been easy to pull this skin back before this incident yes.

Would you suggest that I go to the pharmacy and get the topic cream and use it as well? I just feel so bad for him and I will continue the pro-biotics I've been giving him 1/4tsb 2x a day, will they help him pretty fast or do they take time to build up like antibiotics? Thank you so much for your help !!!
I should also mention he is circumcised already and no he is not currently taking antibiotics
Answered by Dr. Tejas Shah 1 hour later
Thanks for reverting back to me.

ENT specialist is right about tubes. Usually it is indicated for long-standing fluids in middle ear, affecting hearing etc.

I would recommend using topical antibiotic cream, along with frequent washing and keeping it dry for a day or two. If oil application is making it worse, would recommend stopping it.

Pro-biotics contain healthy bacteria, and help to restore balance of healthy bacteria in our body following frequent use of antibiotics. They do help but need longer time. They don't help fighting current infection he has got.

If things don't improve in next 24 hours, he would need to be seen by family doctor or Pediatrician. If symptoms/swelling get worse, you need to take him to emergency department.

I hope I have been helpful. Wishing your son a speedy recovery. Do not hesitate to come back if you have any further queries.

Dr Tejas Shah
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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