Genital conditions in toddlers

Common Genital Problems in Toddlers

Parents are often concerned about the well-being of their children and the development of their body parts including their genitals. It is quite natural that they want to understand and confirm if everything is normal. There are some common genital conditions which can affect a toddler, but can be treated with proper medical attention and care.

Post delivery, parents are given guidance to enable them to take proper care of their baby’s health. A healthy genital and a proper inguinal canal are expected in every child’s body, but sometimes they could be affected by an unhealthy condition which needs special care and attention.
Undescended testicles and hydrocele in boys, and inguinal hernia in both genders are some genital conditions a child might go through. These can be treated easily and need to be followed with proper care.

Undescended Testicles

The testes develops in a baby boy’s abdomen and moves down into the scrotum in the last few weeks before the birth or just after their birth. However, sometimes, one or both the testicles fail to come down and lead to undescended testicles. In some cases, they descend but the inguinal canal doesn’t fully close and the testicles keep moving up and down between the scrotum and abdomen. This condition is quite rare and usually occurs in prematurely born baby boys.


Normally, the testicles move down to their right place within 6 to 12 months of birth. If they don’t, then parents must seek a paediatrician’s advice,who would probably recommend a hormone therapy or surgery.

Inguinal Hernia

This problem arises whenan abdominal tissue, like a loop of intestine, may shift to the opening of the inguinal canal and cause a swelling in baby’s groin area. It can happen in both boys and girls,but is painless.It can be easily detected during a diaper change.


The child would need a minor surgery to close the opening and avoid the development of strangulated hernia. This is a condition which occurs when a piece of intestinal content is stuck in the canal,which cuts off blood supply to that specific part of the intestine. This could make the bulge look swollen, cause extreme pain and become hard. The child may vomit, feed poorly, cry and have a fever too. Immediate medical attention is recommended in such cases.

Labial Adhesions

Sometimes, the folds of skin over the vagina stick together because of a skin inflammation due to a diaper rash. It does not cause pain or interfere with the flow of urine.


This condition usually goes away on its own when the girl hits puberty. However, if the child finds it difficult to urinate or develops a urinary tract infection quite often, consult a doctor. The expert will recommend an estrogen cream or medicines and in some cases, a surgery.

Urinary Tract Infection

This is more common in young boys than girls and is caused due to a bacterial infection of the urinary tract in the child’s body. It can be accompanied with fever, strange smelling urine, vomiting, loss of appetite and grumpy behaviour.


Parents must ensure to consult a paediatrician as soon as they witness any of the symptoms.Urinary tract infection can lead to kidney damage if not treated on time. The doctor would usually prescribe a course of antibiotic medicines to kill the infection.

Penile Adhesions

It could occur due to circumcision when the loose foreskin gets stuck to the top of the penis. This will make the child’s genital appear to have never been circumcised.


This condition usually disappears as the child’s penis grows in size. In some cases, the doctor might recommend a mild steroid cream to get rid of the problem.


Another condition related to the inguinal canal, that affects only boys. It usually happens because the child’s inguinal canal doesn’t close and fluids from the abdomen get accumulated in the scrotal sac. This doesn’t cause much pain, but the child’s testicles may appear swollen.


If the problem is not healed on its own, parents need to consult a doctor,who would probably recommend a surgery after the baby is one year old. This surgery involves draining out the fluid and closing up the opening in the canal.
So don’t get all worked up, if you notice something unusual with your child’s genitals, consult a paediatrician and get the necessary treatment.

Previous article «
Next article »