Cleaning the Penis with Intact Foreskin

Question

My 19 month-old son was not circumcised at birth at my husband’s request. I am the one that gives him his bath, and mostly change his diapers every day but I never do anything specific to clean his penis. I’ve heard that I’m supposed to but have no idea what to do, and my husband tells me not to do anything specific. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. Do you have any recommendations?
Texas

Dr. Greene`s Answer:

Today in the office, a great mom asked me about her son’s newly acquired habit of licking garden snails. Little boys often have a very different sense of hygiene than their mothers. They delight to splash in muddy water, and think nothing of the trail of mucus running down the nose that prompts many mothers to action. Most little boys will not spontaneously wash their hands or clean their penises. So what to do with a foreskin?

If this conflict weren’t enough, sources of childcare information have very different recommendations for care of uncircumcised penises. Some advocate aggressive wiping using cotton swabs and alcohol to clean under the foreskin. At the other extreme, some authorities suggest doing nothing at all until puberty, saying that the collection of cheesy material under the foreskin is natural and desirable. One popular childcare book even differs from itself, saying in a caption, “The uncircumcised penis requires meticulous hygiene; the circumcised penis … requires no special care,” while the accompanying text says, “Contrary to what was once believed, no special care is needed for the uncircumcised penis.”

I recommend a more moderate approach.

Structurally, the penis consists of two main parts, the shaft and the head (which is called the glans). Urine and semen exit the body through a tiny opening at the tip of the glans. At birth, the shaft and the glans are covered by a single continuous layer of skin. If circumcision is performed, the part of this skin that covers the glans is cut off. Immediately after circumcision the glans appears swollen, tender, and vivid red, since the foreskin was firmly attached to the glans before it was forcibly separated and then cut off.

In uncircumcised boys, the foreskin at first remains firmly attached to the glans, but gradually over time the attachments are broken (mostly by the stretching resulting from repeated normal erections). In 90% of boys the foreskin is loose and mobile by age 2, but the process can sometimes take five or more years. When the foreskin has separated from the glans, the foreskin can easily be retracted, or pulled back, to leave the glans exposed. Throughout life, a cheesy white material called smegma, consisting primarily of dead skin cells and secretions from sebaceous glands, will accumulate underneath it.

In uncircumcised boys, forcibly ripping the foreskin from the glans in the name of hygiene can lead to pain, scarring and adhesions. Do not try to forcibly retract the foreskin or to clean under an adherent foreskin with swabs, antiseptics, or even water. On the other hand, even though doing nothing at all may be considered natural, similar reasoning would lead to not cutting the hair, trimming the nails, washing the hands, or cleaning the bottom after a poop. Gentle hygiene enhances health.

Only the outside of the foreskin needs to be cleaned during the first year. It should be cleaned and bathed with soap and water just like the rest of the diaper area. After his first birthday, you might want to very gently pull back on the skin of the shaft to see if the foreskin retracts. If it doesn’t at all, don’t worry — and don’t force it! There is certainly no rush. If urine can flow freely, the hole in the foreskin is big enough. As long as the foreskin doesn’t easily retract (even in a ten year old), only the outside needs to be washed. If the foreskin retracts a little, it would be okay to gently clean the exposed part of the glans with water (but don’t use soap while the foreskin is still partially attached to the glans, since this can irritate this tender area). After cleaning, always pull the foreskin forward to its usual position. This is very important — otherwise it can get stuck and lead to serious damage.

Once the foreskin has completely separated and retracts freely, begin to teach your son to retract his own and clean underneath it when he bathes, or at least once a week. For most little boys this personal cleaning will not become a habit unless you encourage it. Mentioning it positively and frequently throughout the years can instill an important sense of responsibility, prevention, and health that will benefit him for years to come.

Your bathtimes together are precious now, but the habits you help your son develop might also reduce sexually transmitted diseases and cancer of the penis (and cervix in his partner) when your little boy becomes a man.

About the Author
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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Recent Comments

My son is 4 year’s old , and uncircumcised the tip of his penis is red and irritated. His foreskin has still not separated and the opening is just big enough for him to urinate . I want to know if there is any over the counter ointments I can apply to the irrigated area. Please respond back. Thank

That is common. By the time he has hit puberty it should retract just fine

my foreskin on penis is hard to pull back when i need to go pee.and it feels like it is a sticky feel when i go! that peeling back the foreskin hurts,and I have torn the foreskin pulling it back to go! I do have Diabetes controlled by food intake. and I would like to know if that’s what causing this? it went away. and know it seems to be healing a little. but, there’s a little hole like look on the side of the head of the penis. I don’t know what it is? it doesn’t hurt. but, just wanted to know what it was? I did show the Doc!! but,went away still concerned!! he said wash it! and put Bacitracin Ointment,USP on it after. please answer back.. thank you!

I am 80 years old and for the last 7 years have not been sexually active. That’s about to change but when I checked, my foreskin has become attached to the base of the glans preventing me to fully expose it. Is this something I should be concerned about or is there something I can do that will fully expose the glans?

I saw the Urologist and he gave me clotrimazole and said to apply it to the tightened foreskin. He said to make sure that the foreskin is dry and clean. I am not sure that I am doing this correctly. Is there a video or other means of showing if I am doing this correctly? I am 80 and try to clean in the shower by putting soap on my little finger and I can in about half way..but still cannot get the foreskin back all the way to clean it properly. Also, I would like to have intercourse , but in trying I get P A.
What can I do . I just started his program today. I want to do it correctly…any advice would be appreciated E L S

I am 88yrs old an uncircumsized.due to inactivety my penis has retracted into my sack and I can’t get to it to clean it.is this a problem?

My son is 5 year old.his foreskin is not opening at all ,but he urinates without pain.
is there any problem i want your suggestions please

My 5-year-old is the same. There isn’t a problem, though. Some boys aren’t retractable until puberty or beyond. Unless there’s pain, there isn’t usually a problem. (no one ever treated it as a problem when we were in the UK; it’s just been since moving to the US that some have considered it a problem).

My son is one year old and his left testes is undescend should i try to giv pressusure to descend down or anything more.what should i do?

Sir i am 23 but skin of my penis is not pussing back and only some part of glans is seen what should i do sir please consult me, I need an urgent help.

Sir i am 19 but skin of my penish is not pussing back and only some part of glance is show what i do sir plse consult me

Sir I m 18 n my penis skin is not pushing diwn,means my skin is not getting down n my penis is paining whn m touching it whn I touch it’s super cap area.

Hi, i’m 12 and i can’t pull my penis back when i’m erect, but when i’m not erect i can pull it perfectly, when i pee it doesn’t cause pain or anything, i pee normaly. Is this normal?

I have phimosis problem then after for 4 days of stretching I was able to pull back my foreskin and I couldn’t able to push it back then I leave it as it is now my top of foreskin is swelling like a balloon n by extra stretching some cuts are there n now pus what should I do I m scared

Rone,

The cuts, swelling and pus are concerning. I would recommend you see a doctor now and get his advice. I suspect he will want to see you immediately.

I hope that helps.
@MsGreene
Note: I am the co-founder of DrGreene.com, but I am not Dr. Greene and I am not a doctor. Please keep that in mind when reading my comments and replies.

Dr. Green – My son now 6 years and 2 months has had his foreskin stuck for 2 years. It was my brother who identified 2 years ago that it would not go down. We went finally to the urologist 3 months ago and after applying 2 different corstisol cremes he still see adhesions and says is fussed and so either he sedates him and pulls him hard at it (like he says it was in the old days and sounds awful to me) or we circumcised him (which sounds even worst.) I read the cream thins his foreskin and that doesn’t sound good. We used argan oil too and have done exercises for month where he holds it for 100 seconds, we also try the up and down to 20, and now the Urologist says to pull down as far as he can everytime he pees, I did not see this anywhere else.

Please help us I am pretty desperate I dont want him to have surgery but today at Sick Kids Hospital they said that pulling by force would lead to more damage so circumcision is best. I would prefer using a more natural ointment that does not thin his skin and I am not sure if him pulling his foreskin every time he pees could lead to an infection. How many time is he to do the exercises. Running out of options, he is schedule for circumcision in 2 months

hi doctor please help me my child is crying whe he want to take out irine and the doctoctor said is phimoses I must wait for three months what must I do now couze the baby keep crying when he want to take out urine

Oh my gosh!! Why do you need to retract the foreskin fully? Just clean w water as far as it will go naturally and it will most likely fully retract at puberty or after.

My son is 16 YO, he has light yellowish/white stains in his underwear sometimes. This normal?

Yes it might mean that your son has or had had a wet dream and the sperm dries it’s totally normal for your sons age.

Sir,
I am.paddy and in late 20’s

My foreskin doesn’t retract whn my penis is erect,it retracts whn it is normal.

When I touch the glans it is quite sensitive and painful,for this reason I am unable to perform wth my girlfriend.

Pls do help with your guidance

Same here with me ..did shown it to any doctor ?

sir,
my sons age was 8 months. when he was going for bathroom and toilet at a time some white colour like layer very small layer is coming out from penis. what is the main reason for getting like that.
thank you.

I am a first time mom in the US I am due to deliver a baby boy on 10/14/16 and I am extremely conflicted on whether or not it is better to have him circumcised or not, every male I have ever known has had it done but I have seen some things online about it being bad for the baby. I want to be a good mom but I’m not sure what is right. Clearly I don’t want my baby in pain or to have any complications but I can’t help but feel that I would also be doing him a disservice by leaving him intact only because I have no clue how to care for it and his daddy wouldn’t either and if we accidentally did something wrong we could cause him pain still. Or if we took him to a doctor they could hurt him as well because it is so routine for boys not to have foreskin here they have no idea what to do either! Please help. I want to be a good parent as we all do but I am truly in turmoil over this.

You wouldn’t likely trim a clitoris so why a penis?

Circumcision in the US is an UNNECESSARY routinely performed on males. It is male mutalization. Leave his foreskin and if he decides at 12 or 15 or 26 to become circumcised, he can have that done when he chooses.

I have an uncircumcised husband. However my boys are. I am also a nurse. For hygiene reasons I think it’s a good idea!!

Why don’t you take a “wait and see” approach? Leave your son intact, follow the care instructions to leave his foreskin alone, only clean the outside and never retract it. And if he never has any issues or problems like millions of other men around the world, awesome! If your son does become the small percent who has an issue, attempt other treatment options before electing into the surgery. There are so many solutions to men’s health issues that doesn’t require him to be circumcised. Just the same as women’s health issues. Only a small amount of women actually need surgical intervention that can’t be treated with creams or pills.

I hope this helps your decision!

Also, do a little looking around and find a doctor that is against circumcision. YouTube is a good source for learning things too. Caring for it is not nearly as scary as caring for and going through the process of circumcision… I hope that helps. I’m due in a couple days, and am proud to say we are not having him circumcised even though my husband is.

Don’t do it :)

My son is 8months And I was changing his diaper I seen a green mucus looking on his diaper in his penis area .( His diaper was dry though he was it was just dirty cause he was eating and food got over his diaper) he has a little rash nothing to serious on his behind and his penis looks normal. What could this be , I’m freaking out about it. He is my first boy.

My age is 24 but still when my penis erects, my foreskin doesn’t cum back it comes back when penis is in normal mode so can u help me. I am tensed because can i take happiness of sex with my partner fully?

I’ve never pulled down or retracted my almost 3 year old son’s foreskin. Just the tip has been showing on its own in the past few months. He’s been telling me owie and the tip where the urine passes is red. What can I do to help him? He complains of no pain urinating.

He could have thrush(a yeast infection). You should always pull it back and clean where the skin meets and around the rim really well. Because of the foreskin there is moisture wich can be a great home for yeast or bacteria.

I recommend going to your family doctor and getting his urine tested for any infections.

Do you recommend circumcision at birth? I’m not sure about what I want to do with my son..

No. Not at all, not one bit. Circumcision at birth is unnecessary and can lead to death and of course a boat load of pain. I recommend you watch a YouTube video of a neonatal circumcision to help you decide. Don’t do it unless somethings actually wrong with it. Don’t do it to prevent, it won’t prevent anything. It’s his body, I believe it is his choice unless it is a medical emergency. My son was left intact.

i have bad breath from many years i visited many doctor they said that i have stomach problem i used alots of medicine please tell me what should i do for bad breath

There is something I take daily that I believe would really help you. It is advertized for other ailments but one of the awesome side effects it that it is a body mint. It somehow gets rid of all body odor to the point of where I dont even need to wear deoderant. Before buying it (I actually origionally bought it for its iron content) I read comments on amazon of people with different odor problems being alleviated from taking this stuff.. I have been taking it for at least a year now and I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt it has been very helpful in that area. Its called “cloroxygen.” No I dont know the people who sell it but I am thankful to whoever is responsible for making it available. Hope this helps :)

doc my son he is 6months old ,his skin on his penis its attached to his glands ,the penis seems blocked on the glands,his testes moved back next to his abdominals ,m so stressed doc pls help,i cannot take it anymore ,he seems to be in pain.

Jeanet,

So sorry for your distress. What does your son’s doctor say after physical exam?

@MsGreene

My 8 year old uncircumcised son has an appointment with a urologist in a few weeks. Our family doctor is sending him to see about possibly needing a circumcision! His foreskin does not move at all and it is still really thick she said. She also said it is normal up to his teens for his skin to not retract, but because it’s not moving at all and it’s so thick, she wants him checked. He is peeing normally, but most times the very tip is red and the shaft is sometimes a purplish colour. How likely is it that he will need to be circumcised?
Also, Is it normal for the shaft to be purple-ish? I only have 2 more weeks to wait but I’m worried.

I hope the doctor did not recommend circumcision, because the development of your son’s penis is normal! The age at which the foreskin will move freely back and forth varies, greatly. While 8 is older than the median age, it is still well within the average range. The tip is usually quite red. It’s because there is so much tissue packed together, when closed around the tip of the penis, and it is very densely supplied with blood. I’m not sure what you mean by the shaft being purplish. Do you mean the head of the penis, underneath the foreskin? That is called the glans, and it is perfectly normal, and desirable, for it to be purple color. In circumcised babies, it doesn’t remain purple because layers of skin cells form, as a protective measure.

Doc, my 7 yr old boy’s foreskin has not retracted and it is almost closing. So while urinating the foreskin bulge out due to narrow passage of the foreskin. Please advice.

My son is six, uncircumcised, no retraction and has ballooning sometimes as well. I think this is normal.

My husband is German and uncircumcised. His nephew is also. His nephew did not have full retraction until pre puberty around 12 I think.

At bath time I ask my son to pull his foreskin back and we wash with soap and water. It’s not like there is really any retraction but it’s more developing the habit of cleaning and knowing to pull it back.

I wouldn’t be panicked unless there is redness, discharge, Oder or your son complains of burning, itching or some other discomfort.

American doctors are taught differently than Europeans. But here in the US circumcision is not the norm and I find they try and be too cautious to the point of over reacting.

I’ve just been reading about a similar issue with a 6 year old on another forum (MDC). It sounds like “ballooning” is normal as long as there are no signs of infection or pain and he can urinate freely. The average age of retraction is 10.5 yrs in Denmark. This is all according to a thread on the mothering forum. I’m not a doctor and have just started reading up on uncircumcised care, so take that into consideration, too.

Sounds like it would be wise to see a doctor. He or she would do a physical exam and possibly refer you to a pediatric urologist.

Hope that helps,
@MsGreene

I was always told to care for the penis like a finger, no soap. When my son was 3 our pediatrician recommended gently retracting and using soap. His penis became red and swollen. Pediatrician gave me topical antibiotics like neosporing and swelling went down in 24 hours. I learned not to retract or use soap. I’ve told my now 8 year old that it’s okay to pull it back HIMSELF gently and rinse with water. I came here to learn when the forskin retracts. I have learned to not worry about it until he is a teenager

I have am not circumcised. I have always felt different from others. When kids find something different, they tease you for being different. I have lived my life trying to not be noticed in school, the military and in the gym shower. I wish, I was just like everyone else. Circumcised

Many more are like you, now, but if you want to be around mostly intact men, all you have to do is move out of the US – to Europe, most of non-Muslim Asia (except the Philippines and South Korea), Latin America, New Zealand, Australia, etc.

Kids tease everyone who is different. We teased the circumcised boy. I bet he wished he was uncircumcised like the rest. Keep in mind, circumcision rate in the US has peaked.

Ypu are like everyone else. 80% of the men in the world are not circumcised and now it’s close to 50% in the USA and declining. You should be happy you have your foreskkn. I was cut and wish I wasn’t

Hello. My son is 2years old. Hid foreskin is not retracted. I went to see two pediatricians and both said it is ok. He has smegma under his foreskin. My worry is that it is not working its way out. When I first noticed it was just a small lump. Now it got a lot bigger all over his penis. He pees normal. No pain. Please help me to know if I need to do something.

This is perfectly normal. If he can pee, let him be. ❤

Hi Doc,
My son is 9yrs 6months old. His foreskin does not go completely back rather it does not separate . Today I saw puss on the tip of his penis but he had no pain and urinated normally in full force. I have no idea about what it is and what I should do ? Please help.

What it likely was is smegma. Smegma actually means soap. Women produce smegma as well it helps regulate the ph balance and keeps the genitals clean. He is perfectly fine. If he can pee, leave him be. He doesn’t have to do any special care until he has hit puberty. At that point, playing in the shower keeps him clean.

Dr Greene:
I am 30 years old. I was circumcised when I was a baby. My Penis went in when I was younger like a buried penis and I clean the outside everyday. I try to put it out every once a while to clean the penis but it is hard to push it out. Is there an easier way to push it out everyday so I can make sure it’s gets cleaned good on a daily basis?

Hi dr. Greene,
I am 30 and I have a buried penis. Sometimes I try to pull it out to clean it but it is hard sometimes to pull out to clean. What should I do to make it easier to pull out?

Your information is incorrect and harmful. The foreskin does NOT normally retract at age 2! It is different for each man but the average age is 10.4 years old. The range is actually between 3 and up to about 19 years old.

The foreskin should never be forcibly retracted or cleaned. Soap should not be used on the genitals. The way to clean is “clean only what is seen water only, wipe gently like a finger from base to tip”.

If you don’t know this, please do not give advice. It’s better to admit you don’t know something than to cause permanent harm to a baby.

True!

Vitamin A is great for keeping the foreskin odor-free. Vitamin A will kill the odor-causing bacteria down there and eliminate the smell. Applying an all natural penis health creme that contains A and other vitamins every day is a simple and easy way to keep the foreskin and the penis clean. Hope this helps.

My son is 12 year old but his penis foreskin is not open, please help us what I do.

He is perfectly fine. If it becomes a problem when he hits puberty, as in pain, steroid creams and stretching work great.

If he’s not in pain, and he’s urinating properly, do NOTHING. Nature knows what to do. The average age of spontaneous foreskin separation/retraction is 10.4 years old. That means a lot of boys’ foreskins do not retract until well into their teens.

Hello Dr. Greene,

I need your help. I have been so worried for my son. He was 7 months when I took him to his 6 month check up. The Dr. asked me if I cleaned him up at every shower. I said yes, just the norm. She says no you have to pull down and clean. I will show you. So I was like okay, so she did and it was a horrible thing. She got my son and pulled his skin down where I could see the head. My son at the moment cried and I saw a little blood. What happened? Did she teared something? Or what is this going to scar him?? I’m so worried. I really want to know. He is not circumcised.

NO, leave his penis alone !!! It doesn’t need any pull downs

NEVER NEVER NEVER LET AN IDIOTIC DOCTOR PULL YOUR SON’S FORESKIN BACK!!!!!!!!!! THIS CAN CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE!!!! Go to doctorsopposingcircumcision.org. I heard they work with attorneys who will literary contact your clinic or doctor about that.

That is called forced retraction. That is assault. I would report that doctor for harming your child. The good news is, leave his foreskin be, and it will heal the damage that doctor caused.

Same thing happened to my son also yesterday. He is 16 months old and when I took him to peadtrician for routine check-up, I told him that my son grabs his penis a lot..doc mentioned that this is because of smegma which itches and needs to be cleaned. Then he forcefully pulled foreskin of my sons penis and showed me white smegma..my son cried a lot, and doc asked me to give him iboprufen 5ml once to relieve his pain, and also asked me to apply Neosporin H tube to head of his penis..and then asked me to start cleaning smegma off his penis after 2-3 days..

Once I came home, my son was in lot of pain and so I went on net, only to read and find out that foreskin should never be retracted in a child till it automatically separates and retracts up..now I am really worried if I left my son exposed to any problem in future :(..

Dr Green, pls help me with this and whether I should take any precaution from now on? And also let me know if I should leave my sons foreskin as it is now, or start cleaning it by retracting up after 2-3 days as his paediatrician has suggested? His penis currently looks swollen from centre ring (glan).

Dr. Greene, I noticed something on my son’s penis today. Is it the smegma coming out? He nor I did not retract the foreskin. It just came out. He said it’s not painful nor itchy and it happened just now. There’s no obvious changes in his genitals, no redness, no swelling. Is it normal that smegma comes out by itself? Thank you.

Perfectly normal. No worries.

Dr.Greene,

My 3 year old son has a partially retractable foreskin (it pulls back enough to expose the majority of the head of his penis. But not enough to clean under the ridge). I wash it for him during his bath and do a small inspection after his bath to make sure it isn’t red or needing extra care (he sleeps in a diaper so I’m still applying A&D to his skin for protection).

Tonight when I did the “after bath” inspection I noticed a bit of a milky substance and a bit of an off smell. He said “That’s stinky!”. I asked him if his “pee pee” hurts at all and he said “when you clean it!” Should I stop pulling the foreskin back to the point I have been for cleaning? Should I be concerned about the pain he says happens when I wash him? I’m extremely gentle with his washing there and use baby wipes when I need to clean it outside of his bath.

Be careful with the type of baby wipes you use, especially the ones that contain alcohol and fragrances. Also, NEVER use antibacterial soap. Even my gynecologist recommends her female patients against it. Genitals are self cleaning organs that don’t require harsh cleaning. Obviously good hygiene is important but over-cleaning it can cause problems too. I have two sons and only used gentle natural oatmeal or goatmilk soap. I wouldn’t really use too much on the tip though.

Yes, stop manipulating his foreskin. You could potentionally vause him to need a circumcision. No special care is needed until puberty hits, at that time playing in the shower will keep him clean.

It only hurts if you get soap or any other chemicals in the tip of your penis. Hope this helps! 14 year old uncircumcised

I am following on this conversation on retracting the foreskin.

Hello Doctor,
Please advise under what medical circumstances should one consider circumsing a below 12 months boy.Thanks

Sir.

I am an 18 year old man.

I am getting some problem in my penis. When I pull up my foreskin, I see on penis there is some white white things — like curd. How can I wash that? Because that is under the skin.

Hello Doctor,
I’m 18 years old and I’ve a problem with my penis. My glans is not coming out. I’m so worried. Is it normal? I have a gf but I can’t have sex with her because of this problem. Can you please tell me a solution for this?

Hello doctor,
I m 25 years old. I have some problem related to my penis. The foreskin does not open to let the urethra show up, which means the hole is not big enough(very tinny ). There is no retraction yet. I do not have any pain or any other problem. Tell me what should I do.

Hello doctor,
I m 25 years old. I have some problem related to my penis. The foreskin does not open enough to let the urethra show up, which means the hole is not big enough. I do not have any pain or any other problem. Tell me what should I do.

I read that’s actually normal in some men but if you’re not happy go to a doctor that can prescribe you a steroid cream or do some research on Preputioplasty. This procedure is not extreme, harmful, traumatic, or as painful as circumcision.

Hi Vivek, as you mentioned that you don’t have any pain. Well its a very common thing that for some men the foreskin isn’t loose enough and doesn’t slide easily, but however not to worry. It’s very common. Some stretching can help in fact. Use warm water during shower and it will soften the foreskin and in a week you can see results. Not to worry. Have a great sex life ahead.

my 2 year old son has discharge of pus from second time doctor suggest to do circumcision is it necessary ??

Dr Greene, I need help. Yesterday my 5 year old intact son fell on his bike & smashed his penis on the wheel. He had blood coming from his pants & when I looked, he was bleeding from his penis. We washed him & put a bit of antibiotic ointment on the tip (did not retract). Today, while his penis is a bit bruised, he says it does not hurt. I am wondering: if he tore his frenulum or some part of his internal foreskin (or even the head of his penis) – should I take him to a urologist to check it out? Again, no pain or blood today.. I just got a bit scared when I read online that it is possible for the frenulum to heal up misaligned, leading to problems (is that a valid concern?).

I was told by an OB/GYN that was there when he got hurt that he should be fine, to just watch it for infection… which sounds ok. I am just scared… I don’t want to retract his foreskin to inspect (for fear of re-injury) also scared of a doctor doing the same.

He previously would retract his foreskin slightly when washing in the bath with no problems or pain. Do I go to a urologist, or wait it out?

Hi, My son is 2yr3mo and he is cirucmcised. he has a thick white discharge when i pull his skin back and it looks like its coming from some kind of pore. Is this something to be concerned about?

My 7 year old son complains of pain in his penis. His urine test and culture reports are normal, but he repeated his complain after every 4,5 months. He always cleans his penis with warm water and soap.

So I am cofused about what to do now.

One of my sons had this issue. I noticed if he didn’t drink enough water he would complain, as well as too much soap, and zipper issues. There are all kinds of reasons they can get sore. Good luck

Dr Greene,

My son is 13 mo and is not circumcised. His foreskin is attached to the head of the penis and doesn’t retract beyond that. I am worried as the skin is attached completely and does not have a sign/mark from where it might retract in future. It is plain skin.

Docs here are advising to go for circumcision, which I am very scared of for my little one. Can you please help? Is it possible that skin will retract later even without any mark (edges from where it has possibility to retract) on it?

Some guys use a penis health creme with vitamin A that helps cut down on bacteria. This could be a good supplement on top of washing thoroughly.

Hi DrGreene, my son who is 9 years old has not been pulling back his foreskin for a while as I forgot to remind him. The other day I asked him to do so whilst showering and he found it difficult and painful and was not able to do so. I told him to stop. He was worried about the pain and bleeding recalling earlier memory. What would you advise?

My 2.5 year old son is uncircumcised and half of his foreskin can retract but the other half looks firmly attached to the head of his penis. It has been this way for quite a while (8 months or so) and I ask him to retract it each day, which he does without any pain, but I am concerned about it. Is it normal for part of a toddlers foreskin to be attached? It’s literally like the left side is attached and the right side isnt.

Following this post.

Jon (and Caroline) it’s very normal for part of the foreskin to still be firmly attached to the head of the penis. The foreskin doesn’t dis-attach from the glans all at once. It can be a slow process that takes years.

There’s also an attachement called the frenulum (or, more technically, the frenulum of prepuce of penis) that can act almost like an elastic band to help pull the whole foreskin up. It’s typically on the underside of the penis.

Occasionally the frenulum is too short (frenulum breve) or even turns the penis (frenulum chordee), but having a frenulum is desirable and normal – though it often prompts questions.

1) I am a fan of having a doctor routinely examine the penis to be sure it is developing normally. With your statement that the left side being attached and not the right – this may not be a frenulum, but part of the normal process of the foreskin becoming unattached, or something else altogether.

2) Gently retracting and cleaning the exposed area is good, but as you suggest, forcibly retracting or trying to break the attachment typically causes more harm than good.

Hi Jon, did you receive an answer to your question? I’m concerned about the same problem with my 20 month old. What have you done?

Hi my son is 3 and I noticed a white cheesy material coming from his penis, after I wiped it I noticed a translucent material keeps coming out, it has a smell I wouldn’t say it’s horrible just a smell of some sort, cannot pinpoint it. Nothing hurts, he pees normally I do pull back his foreskin very gently and just spray it with water when showering. Could it be smegma?

Smegma is not necessarily bad. In fact it protects the genitals. It’s why women have discharge down there too. Since his foreskin is retracting and the tip of his penis is being exposed, it needs to be moist (like your eyeballs, inside of your mouth, the vulva, etc) which is why you see that stuff there. Also, keep in mind that genitals (male or female) will have a “scent” down there, which is normal as well :)

Should a 15 yr old (uncircumcised) have retractable foreskin? If not, do I need to take him to a physician/urologist? What advice should I offer to him as parent? Is there a good hyperlink I can send him that explains what he should try/do?

I have a question, my son is 1yr 2 months and he was recently in foster care. he is uncirc and i had told the foster care ppl how to properly clean him and they assured me his foster mom would know how to clean him. I just got him back a few days ago and I went to clean him and his foreskin is able to be pulled all the way down….i called his foster care worker to ask her about this and she said that the foster mom said he was having issues peeing when she got him (which is not true) bc the hole was too tight. they ended up having to put creme on him bc he would scream at every diaper change. well to get to the point when i went to give him a bath last night he started crying and grabbed himself and shook his head no to me…is there a chance that his foster mom had forced his foreskin back the first night she had him and that would be the reason he had so many issues when he was in her care, and why he is not fond of bath time like he used to be? and also is there a chance he can get an infection now and end up having to be circ?

Yes, there’s a chance that a forced retraction happened and that it could create problems. If I were you, I’d contact Doctors Opposing Circumcision (M. Geisheker in particular) and perhaps Attorneys for the Rights of the Child.

I believe less is “more”, in regards to the care of the intact penis, and doing “nothing” is far more saer than using SOAP on genitals and pulling on genitals that dont belong to you.
You know baby girls also have foreskin and we dont pull them back to clean them with soap.
Soap and repeatingly pulling the foreskin can actually introduce bacteria and encourage a PH imbalance and inadvertently cause an infection.
My son is 11 years old, I have never attempted to pull back his foreskin, nor have I encouraged him to do so himself.
When he was a baby/toddler his penis was treated like the rest of diaper area, wiped w/a wet cloth. His foeskin/penis were cleaned like a finger and only what could be seen.
He’s never had any issues.
I just cant imagine that a body part would “hang around” for thousands of years if it were truly that much trouble to take care of.
This is not rocket science people.
Most little boys have no problems discovering their penises in the bathtub. That is enough to keep it clean.
If the INTACT penis does not belong to YOU do not attempt to retract it period!
Leave the foreskin alone.