Checking for Infection with Circumcision

Susie McGee
infected circumcision

A common question that concerned parents often ask their pediatrician is, "How do I know if an infant circumcision is infected?" Complications from a circumcision aren't that common. However, you do want to be aware of the signs that an infection may be present.

Circumcision at a Glance

Even before you knew that your baby was a boy, you may have started debating whether or not to have him circumcised. Circumcision involves the removal of the foreskin covering on the head of the penis.

Some choose circumcision for their son because of religious or cultural beliefs. Others say yes to this decision strictly based on appearance or hygiene. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that this is a purely personal decision. While this practice is common in North America and parts of the Middle East, it isn't as routine in South America, Central America, Europe, and Asia.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 64 percent of newborn males are circumcised, although this is only an estimation. As of 1999, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a recommendation stating that parents should be given information regarding this practice. While the AAP also stated that there are medical benefits associated with circumcision, they do not offer a recommendation and instead believe that parents should make the decision on whether or not to have a child circumcised.

Knowing if an Infant Circumcision Is Infected

To answer the question "how do I know if an infant circumcision is infected" parents need to understand information relating to the use of this practice.

  • Boys who are not circumcised can still maintain good hygiene with proper care.
  • Boys may experience irritation regardless of whether or not they have been circumcised.
  • While there is an increased possibility of contracting a Baby Urinary Tract Infections urinary tract infection in babies who are circumcised, the risk is very minimal, and babies who have been circumcised can still have a urinary tract infection as well.
  • Although some people feel that sexual sensation in uncircumcised adult men is reduced, there is no evidence of this.
  • Circumcision has been found to offer some protection from cancer of the penis, but readers should keep in mind that the risk of this type of cancer is extremely low in the United States.

Signs That a Problem May Exist

In answering the question "how do I know if an infant circumcision is infected," you'll need to pay attention to any changes in the appearance of your son's penis after the procedure. The following symptoms will typically warrant a call to your pediatrician:

  • Increasing redness-While redness around the tip of the penis is normal in the first day or so after the circumcision, if that redness continues to worsen after several days, call your doctor.
  • Discharge-If you notice any discharge or pus, this is a sign of an infection. You should contact your physician immediately.
  • Urination problems-Your infant should continue urinating normally, but if you notice any problems or a lack of urination, contact your doctor.
  • Plastibell-If your doctor used a Plastibell to circumcise your son, that device should fall off within 12 hours. If it does not, talk to your doctor.
  • Bleeding-If you notice continued bleeding, contact your pediatrician.

Medical Reasons for Not Performing a Circumcision

While there are many religious and social reasons for choosing not to circumcise a child, there are sometimes medical reasons that enter into the decision as well. For example, a premature baby or a baby that has other health issues may not be well enough to have the procedure performed upon him. Also, if there is a physical problem with the child's penis that may need to be surgically corrected at a later date, a circumcision may not need to be performed.


If you have any questions regarding the circumcision of your child, contact your pediatrician.

Checking for Infection with Circumcision