DO YOU KNOW HOW TO TREAT YEAST INFECTIONS?

This is the seventh in a series of informational essays by Marilyn Milos, RN, founder of the National Organization of Circumcision Resource Centers and a pioneer in the movement to end the forced circumcision of boys in the United States. Marilyn is also a member of Intact America's Steering Committee. If you have a question you'd like Marilyn to address, send us an email!

The most common cause of an inflamed foreskin in a child is yeast overgrowth. If your son's foreskin has become pink or red in color, swollen, and sensitive or painful when he urinates, it's likely that the friendly bacteria on his genital tissue have been destroyed, giving yeast (which also lives on our skin) room to expand. Healthy bacteria on the human genitals are suppressed by antibiotics, bubble baths, soap or shampoo in bath water, and chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs.

The simple remedy for yeast on a boy's foreskin is to dab some liquid Acidophilus culture (the active ingredient in yogurt or another probiotic) onto the foreskin six times a day for three days. (Liquid acidophilus can be purchased at health food stores and in some pharmacies.) It will kill the yeast and allow healthy bacteria to reproduce. This three-day regimen should do the trick for your son and restore his foreskin to good health.

During this bacterial replacement therapy, please: no swimming, no soap on the foreskin, no soap or shampoo in the bath water! Only warm water should be used on the penis.

After treatment, you can prevent against yeast overgrowth caused by chlorinated pool water by applying a non-petroleum jelly as a barrier cream on the foreskin before swimming or going in the hot tub. Put the cream on your son's foreskin (or if he's old enough, he can do this himself) before going into the water. When he's done, rinse the chlorine off and wipe away the cream.

Finally, if you have any questions about the issues raised in this article, please do not hesitate to contact me through [email protected]

—Marilyn Milos, RN

For more information about the foreskin, please download our  Foreskin Facts  information sheet and share it with your friends, doctors, and anyone you know who may have a baby on the way or is thinking about becoming a parent.