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DS2 may have to be circumcised - he's 3.1, any experiences?

(15 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Wed 13-Jul-11 22:14:58

DS2 has always had a bit of a wonky willy, it turns to the right at the end. He was seen by a paediatrician at about 8 months old who thought that it would all resolve itself and to get rereffered if it caused problems or hadn't sorted itself by the time he was 8 or 9.

Now he's poty trained, its causing a real problem with he wee spraying off at a funny angle, then suddenly coming out straight so I took him back to the GP. Part of his foreskin seems to be tethered too tightly and she thinks he may need to be circumcised so has referred us back to the paediatrician.

Does anybody know if they could maybe just loosen the tight area, or if he needs to be circumcised what does that entail in terms of hospital stay and restrictions post-op?

TBH it doesn't bother him too much apart from when he wets his clothes accidently, but if it might cause him problems later in life then I'd much rather deal with it now.

uptomyeyes Wed 13-Jul-11 22:21:24

Im in a similar situation with DS3 - he has suffered from terrible ballanitis infections for about 2 years - they really plagued his life. These are caused by phimosis - his foreskin is completely unretractable. We were referred to Evelina CHildrens Hosp who were hell bent on circumcision, but when we eventually got to see the surgeon he recommended a steroid cream treatment, twice daily for 3 months (I think its called trimovate). We are about 1 month into the treatment and DH and I think there is more flexibility in the foreskin but it still doesn't retract. Not sure if that helps you at all.
But I feel your pain - I had many conversations with male friends about how attached men are to their foreskins!

Suzannesee Fri 15-Jul-11 14:06:38

Foreskin problems are quite common. They come with a range of minor physical deformities like tightness which often leads to an inability to retract, infections and peeing difficulties.

That's why male circumcision is the world's oldest and most widely practised operation. In many areas of North America, the take-up of male circumcision at birth is seen alongside vaccination as a good way of preventing trouble later on. It used to be fashionable in the UK years ago but now we've strangely come to regard the foreskin as precious.

It's not a view I share because I helped to care for my nephew who started with problems early in life and suffered pain and misery for years in an effort to avoid circumcision. The creams and antibiotics were no permanent solution. The steroid worked for a short while but it cannot be prescribed long term and when it was discontinued the tightness returned worse than ever, resulting in his eventual circumcision, aged seven. That made him a bit tender for a few days until it quickly healed. But, he accepted his 'new penis' very happily because it put an 'end' to his troubles ;-) (Sorry about the pun there!)

This and the fact that my DH is circumcised made me research the subject and talk to a few other men who were. None of them said they would choose to have their foreskins back if that were possible, including two who were circumcised before they had chance to become acquainted with that piece of their anatomy.

It is hard to persuade the NHS to circumcise early when it really is a minor procedure which heals quickly and leaves no unpleasant memory. Unfortunately, it is often postponed because of a 'wait and see' or (cost saving!) policy. When this fails it is a more traumatic experience for an older child or adult. If you are offered circumcision on the NHS it must be really necessary and I'd say go for it. Failing that there are plenty of private clinics who have experts who specialise in this procedure to fill a need in the NHS provision.

If you want more info on my nephew's experience, PM me.

stirlingstar Fri 15-Jul-11 14:20:06

Hiya - I recently posted a 'wonky willy' thread on here - from your description sounds like my DS1 could be similar to yours (though no history of infections etc). There is a noticable bend at the end of his penis, and skin (along length of penis, but particularly at end) looks looser on one side & tighter on the other.

As he grows, he is getting increasing probs with sideways wee. But I was galvanised to action by seeing penis erect and with a shock looking kink at the end! GP can't see anything sinister, but has referred us to urologist (we are waiting for this at the moment) - saying that it might be a 'watch and wait' as he grows, with a possible cosmetic correction - but urologist will also have experience to examine for anything more problematic. Have not got an appointment yet.

My DH and his many brothers were all circumcised young (mostly as little babies) - not for any religious reason - but MIL told me was because they'd all had 'problems' with foreskin. This was obviously back in the day and I don't have any other info on the 'problems' - but has now made me wonder if DS1 has a family trait! I wouldn't choose to circumcise for no reason, but I tend to think it wouldn't be end of the world either.

stirlingstar Fri 15-Jul-11 14:21:03

Should have said - DS1 is 4.5 - wonkiness has been there since birth

bumbleymummy Fri 15-Jul-11 17:20:25

DS1s foreskin still doesn't retract at age 5. We were a bit concerned until we looked into it more and realised that it is actually quite common and many boys' foreskins don't actually retract until they are in their teens. Unfortunately it seems that many doctors don't realise this and diagnose phimosis which (in its pathological form rather than just natural non retractibility) is actually very rare in children - this means that many young boys are circumcised unnecessarily when their foreskin may have naturally separated and started to retract by itself if given some time. Obviously if it is causing problems like infections and pain etc then it is worth looking into but otherwise a 'wait and see' approach gives it a bit of time to sort itself out.

Suzannesee, your experience and opinion actually contradict a lot of current advice, particularly in the UK. I think it is quite shocking that you are recommending early circumcision on the off chance that the child may have foreskin problems. Perhaps we should all have our appendix taken out at birth 'just in case' too. hmm

Regarding your comment about the circumcised men you happen to know - if we're working on anecdotes here then none of the uncircumcised men I know would choose to give their foreskin up grin

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 15-Jul-11 20:10:43

Thanks all.

It seems to just be a bit tethered on the one side, the left and it turns to the right.

I'm not keen to have him circumcised if there's a chance that it might sort itself out, but neither do I want to leave it if it'll cause problems as he gets older (with weeing, infections or even sex if I'm thinking long term). So far it's just the messy weeing - no infections or anything to make him feel pain or unwell.

We'll just have to wait and see when the appointment comes round I suppose.

bumbleymummy Fri 15-Jul-11 21:05:26

This is a good source of info.

bumbleymummy Fri 15-Jul-11 21:09:53

Iwish - DH has just informed me that one side of his foreskin was attached like that when he was younger. It sorted itself out when he was 14/15 although I think it may have had a bit of help iykwim grin

IwishIwasmoreorganised Fri 15-Jul-11 21:20:29

Thank you bumbleymummy, that's very useful and interesting - both the link and the information that your DH shared!

Suzannesee Sun 17-Jul-11 08:36:16

Bumbleymummy, I don't want to cross swords with you on this. You are quite right, my opinion does contradict current advice but it is based on experience and research. I just want to put the other side of the story which isn't given fair consideration these days.

Circumcision is not a big deal if done early, ie soon after birth which is the prophylactic practice in the USA. Of course the argument doesn't extend to removal of the appendix because that is an internal part which requires invading the abdominal cavity to do so. We do however frequently remove wisdom teeth to prevent trouble later on.

People who never experience foreskin problems can't appreciate the misery of those who do. I can, having cared for a little boy who endured these for three years and had to experience being circumcised at an age when it was more painful, traumatic and embarrassing than it would have been aged four.

That is the only problem with 'wait and see'. It is a gamble. Many times tight foreskins do loosen of their own accord as nature intended, but lots of times this is not the case. NHS hospitals circumcise about 30,000 males of all ages every year. Others are done privately and go unrecorded. Parents should be aware that problems can clear up in childhood, only to return when sexual activity begins and frustrate it terribly. If you don't believe me, google 'foreskin problem' and see how many hits. The advice MBs are quite flooded with this topic among teenagers and adults.

I had both my boys circumcised soon after birth. It was trivial surgery under a local anaesthetic taking only a few minutes. I'll never know if this was really necessary; ie, they might or might not have had foreskin skin problems. I only know that now they never will, and that they and their future sexual partners will benefit from what many consider to be a cleaner and healthier penile status.

Each to their own. Opinions are strong and divided on this topic. Please, let's not fall out over it. In the end we each decide what is best for our boys. I just think that the case for early circumcision should not be dismissed as readily as it is in the UK.

mummytime Sun 17-Jul-11 08:57:21

I still have my wisdom teeth (and I am pleased to have them as they replace lost teeth). My DS has his foreskin.
You are entitled to your opinion, but just because they do it in the US isn't any real argument.

bumbleymummy Sun 17-Jul-11 22:20:08

Suzanne, if you want to further your research then you should read the link I posted above. Circumcision itself can lead to problems so by trying to pre-emptively eliminate one issue you could be creating another.

OrdinaryJo Mon 18-Jul-11 12:04:00

OP, there are different 'levels' of circumcision. One is a 'foreskin stretch', the other is to loosen the two bits of skin which tether the foreskin, third is full circ - IMO it sounds like as your DS is wonky on one side all they may need to do is the snip. Its a sort of snip into the side of the penis which then is supposed to loosen the foreskin, but his foreskin will remain intact.

My DS had this in December but for some reason it didn't work for him and we're going in next week for a full circ. Just about to post about healing times on that actually!

stirlingstar Tue 19-Jul-11 09:11:11

bumbleymummy - thanks for that info!

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