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Alternatives to circumcision - any success stories?

(30 Posts)
heavenisaplaceinperth Mon 09-May-16 11:58:48

11yo DS has a very tight foreskin which has never retracted and has been referred to a urologist, with circumcision of course being mentioned as a solution, though the doc did say something about 'surgical stretching' as a first step. At the moment DS has some steroid cream which is supposed to stretch the skin a bit, but GP didn't seem particularly hopeful that this would work.

Just wondering what other people's experiences have been - have you managed to avoid circumcision in a case like this? And did you have to have a fight with healthcare peeps not to immediately send your DS straight for the chop? Really don't want to if it's not 100% essential.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 09-May-16 12:08:49

DS had the tendons (might not be tendons, but the bits of skin that attach the foreskin to the penis) snipped as a first step, it was an operation but would have left him with his foreskin. Unfortunately it didn't work, and he then had to have a full circ. I kind of wished we'd just gone straight for that, to be honest, rather than put him through two GAs to end up at the same place.

heavenisaplaceinperth Mon 09-May-16 12:12:43

Thanks, Lonny. In what way did it not work, if you don't mind going into gory detail?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 09-May-16 12:54:43

It just didn't make a difference - either they didn't do it properly, or the foreskin was too attached (as in right down the length) - I can't quite recall what the reason was, as I was really upset at the time!

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 09:15:18

Is it causing any problems? There are several studies showing that a non-retracting foreskins are still relatively common in teenage boys and have usually resolved themselves by age 17.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 10-May-16 09:18:22

I wouldn't bother with the surgical stretching- didn't work for ds at all and was an necessary operation.

My only advice would be get it done but rather than later, it would be soooooo difficult with a teen IMO.

DoItTooJulia Tue 10-May-16 09:20:32

Similar position here. None of the medics want to circumcise but the surgeon we last saw said that he would do it if it's what we want.

I don't know what we want! (Well apart from it magically retracting painlessly one day soon!) so we're on a watch and wait at the minute.

The surgeon did say that the two best times to try and retract the foreskin is when Ds is showering and if he gets an erection. Ds is very nervous of trying because it's a bit painful once he gets past a certain point. So we'll give it a bit longer to see if it happens naturally and then decide.

So no advice I'm afraid, just in the same boat!

DoItTooJulia Tue 10-May-16 09:21:08

Interesting x post with DameD!

StUmbrageinSkelt Tue 10-May-16 09:29:05

Our GP said DS2 needed a circ immediately when he was 8. We saw our urologist for a review (he was already involved in DS2's care for other reasons) and he said there were enough indications to do it but given that DS2 was not having recurrent infections, he was happy to hold off until the next time DS2 needed surgery and do it as a job lot.

He suggested encouraging masturbation. We didn't as DS2 is moderately autistic and I had reservations. Intense reservations. He wasn't a candidate for the cream as the foreskin was so tight the cream could not get in.

At 18 he no longer needs circing which was unexpected. He also didn't need the other surgery yet. If he had been having recurrent infections we would have chosen to do it.

ElspethFlashman Tue 10-May-16 09:35:40

IMO it's more often kinder to just get the chop. It does solve any issues for good and it's an easy op to get over.

I know there's an emotional component but I've both talked to guys after they've had it done and attended ops where it was done - nobody ever regrets it.

Recurrent infections are especially difficult and it just stops them reoccurring immediately so it can be a massive relief.

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 09:36:34

Here is a paper discussing the differences between pathological and physiological phimosis. Apparently pathological phimosis (which usually does require circuncision) is over diagnosed.

Just to make you aware before you click - This paper does show photos of retracted foreskins. Link

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 09:40:40


DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 10-May-16 09:56:38

I meant sooner rather than later in my last post!

DerelictDaughter Tue 10-May-16 10:05:33

Thank you bumbleymummy for posting that paper.

My son is 11 now and he had a tight foreskin as a little boy. I just haven't had any involvement with his penis since he was about 7 and had an infection after swimming! I know that he knows about masturbation but I'd not ever be able to suggest it to him (as someone said they'd been advised) and I know he would absolutely hate me to!

Anyway this thread has prompted me to find a way to find out if it's still tight. I think it's ok, it looks more like the one on the left than the one on the right (from memory!!).

Before anyone thinks we're terrible parents for not monitoring this, I too understood that it is something that rights itself in the majority of cases. I just don't want him to be worried or in pain.

orangepudding Tue 10-May-16 10:18:37

I'm interested to hear others experiences too.

My son is nearly 8, he's seeing a urologist next month due to having a tight foreskin. DS has had balanitis 3 times whIch has probably caused scaring. DH had a circumcision at 18 due to similar issues DS has, he found the recovery very painful - I hope at a younger age it will be less difficult for DS.

Those who's children have been circumcised how did they react after?

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Tue 10-May-16 14:47:17

I'm not going to lie orange the first three or four days after each op was pretty horrendous. DS was in pain (different types of pain from each op iirc) and was holding urine which then made him very distressed, it was all a bit shit. But he's recovered absolutely fine and has no problems now - not sure if he's noticed any difference with other boys, he is spectacularly unobservant and puberty hasn't struck yet, so I don't know longer-term.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 10-May-16 15:57:51

Ds got an infection unfortunately but that was just bad luck and can happen with any op. He was 8.5 when he has it done . no issues now but I'm so glad we had it done early before he hit puberty as I think it would be hard for a boy to start discovering himself and then for it all to change iyswim? Incidently his mate had surgical stretching too- and it didn't work either.

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 16:32:18

I think that it is often 'discovering themselves' that can help things along if it hasn't detached yet.

Obliviated Tue 10-May-16 16:35:05

Dp tried stretching and creams when he was younger, unfortunately they weren't effective and he's been circumcised as an adult. He wishes he'd had it done as a child now, it's been very painful for him as it had been left long enough for the tendons or skin to fuse together.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 10-May-16 16:52:00

Yes,discovering ones self can help things along if it's a mild case, or it can make things worse if not.

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 17:57:47

I'm not sure physiological phimosis is necessarily mild - it's just more likely to resolve on its own/with a bit of help than pathological phimosis which tends to require circumcision. From that paper, the majority of cases are physiological rather than pathological though so I think there's a case to be made for the 'wait and see' approach if it isn't causing any problems. 99% of the cases in one of the studies were resolved by age 17.

Knackered69 Tue 10-May-16 19:00:12

Ds2 had this. He's now 13 and since he was born he has seen the Gp twice and both times were due to balanitis and needed antibiotic cream.

Instead of showers he had baths and was encouraged to retract his foreskin back but to stop when it started to become painful as we didn't want him to pull it back over the head and then get stuck!

We were starting to talk about steroid creams when it sorted itself out - he was 11 when that happened.

I would possibly give the steroid cream a go first, provided that he isn't getting infections or his stream is affected.

(usual medical muppet disclaimer applies)

DerelictDaughter Tue 10-May-16 19:50:51

I have just had a hilariously uncomfortable conversation with my son grin
It was not really a conversation. He is very private. DD was not the same!!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 10-May-16 20:07:07

Oh deargrin

bumbleymummy Tue 10-May-16 20:55:06


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