The intimate hygiene of boys and girls

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Catherine Le Nevez
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From the very first days of life onwards, it is important to take proper care of the hygiene of the intimate areas of children. Here's how to do it, with the advice of the pediatrician Viviana Barberis of the pediatric polyclinic of our city.

When babies have diapers

“The first thing to know is that pee is free of fat and stools contain very little,” says Barberis. “For this reason, especially with the little ones, it is not necessary to overdo the soap, which can alter the genital bacterial flora”.

Therefore, if the baby has only peed when changing the diaper, you can simply rinse with water. "If, on the other hand, you have also discharged, and especially in case of diarrhea or in the presence of erythema, you can use a neutral, delicate detergent, specific for children.". According to Barberis, the use of the detergent in the presence of feces is particularly important in the case of girls, to avoid the passage into the vaginal area of ​​germs coming from the gastrointestinal tract, which could alter the vaginal bacterial flora.

Read also: Irritative dermatitis: what are they, when do they occur, how to cure them?

Goodbye diaper: how to wash well after spannolinare

"The ideal would be to wash the baby - and gradually teach him to wash his bottom - after each evacuation (basically after every time he's pooped) "Barberis says. A delicate, hypoallergenic, neutral pH intimate cleanser, and to dry a dedicated towel (not that of mom or dad).

Boys should be taught to clean themselves well, by pulling back the skin of the pea, while girls should be taught that they must always wash with a movement from the front to the back. "Obviously, it is important that they continue to do so even as they grow up, and maybe - especially the males - they become a little more resistant to hygiene" warns Barberis, who recalls how intimate hygiene is also important during menstruation: "There is no reason not to wash during this period!"

Finally, everyone must be taught that after peeing or poo, you must always wash your hands well!

Barberis' last piece of advice concerns the underwear, which should always be of cotton and should be changed once a day (or even more often, if it gets dirty).

Phimosis and synechiae, what to do
In boys, for the first two or three years of life the foreskin may appear closed: "It is the so-called phimosis, a completely physiological and normal condition" reassures Barberis, inviting them to do nothing. "The skin must not be opened 'by force', because this can be counterproductive. At the most, during the bath - when the skin is softer - it can be pushed slightly and extremely delicately downwards, to prepare it for the next opening ”.

Phimosis is considered physiological at least up to the age of three (but there are also those who say up to the age of four to five). If at this point it has not yet opened, it is necessary to intervene with one or two application cycles of one cortisone ointment (effective in almost 90% of cases) and if this treatment does not work either with a corrective intervention (circumcision) in the outpatient setting.

While phimosis is a very common condition in boys, so-called synechiae, total or partial attachment of the labia minora, can be found in girls. "They depend - explains Barberis - from a net interruption, after birth, of the flow of estrogen that reached the fetus from the mother, in the absence of an autonomous production of the estrogens themselves, which begins with puberty".

Generally the synechiae they do not cause problems and they resolve themselves (at the latest with puberty, when the production of estrogen begins). In some cases, however, they can provoke difficulty urinating or stagnation of urine, with the consequent risk of developing infections. “In these circumstances it is useful to apply a cortisone ointment (remember that estrogens are derivatives of cortisone), which helps the opening "concludes Barberis." The ointment must be applied with a movement that goes from front to back, always to avoid contamination with fecal microbes. It is important to avoid aggressive detergents ".

  • child's agenda
  • intimate hygiene of boys and girls
  • male and female genitals
  • 1-2 children years
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