Bleeding After Circumcision: Is It Normal?

There's nothing worse for a mom than watching your baby be wheeled off for his circumcision at the hospital (except maybe seeing it performed in front of you during the bris ... yikes!). It's your baby boy, and it's his penis, and there's a knife involved. Ouch.

But you both get through it ... and you're on constant penis watch to make sure he is okay. Then you see some bleeding at the circumcision site and start to panic. Is it normal for my son's circumcision to bleed?

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Here's the deal, according to Dr. AJ Cummings, medical director of DaVinci Medical, clinical assistant professor of surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and founding member of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine: after circumcision, your baby's groin, penis, and scrotum may appear reddish brown because of the liquid used to clean his skin before his surgery.

Take a deep breath. It may not be blood. But it is normal to expect to see some blood after a circumcision

Your baby is monitored for bleeding for two to four hours after surgery, but you will likely get to take him home that day. The shaft of his penis where the skin was removed will look red and raw. (Poor baby; you may choke back some tears.)

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Some slight bleeding may occur for the first couple of days post-op, says Dr. Cummings. You should not see a lot of blood. We are talking tiny drops here.

If it persists, call his doctor. If your gut is telling you he is bleeding too much, definitely call his doctor. Although rare, there are times when circumcision complications can be life-threatening.

"I have more than 20 years experience as an ER trauma doctor," says Dr. Cummings. "In all that time, I saw one baby who had lost so much blood from his botched circumcision that he came into the ER in hemorrhagic shock and had to be resuscitated. This was a rare case where several conditions existed, including a mom not being vigilant enough to recognize excessive bleeding after circumcision." 

In other words, botched circumcisions are infrequent, but they do happen, so it is important for moms to keep watch and follow all post-operative care instructions to a T.

That said, your son's penis will likely look worse before it gets better, and things should go back to normal down there about a week after surgery. Hang in there, mom!

Did your son bleed after his circumcision?

 

Image via © BEA KALLOS/epa/Corbis

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