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Phimosis (overly tight foreskin) in 5.5 year old boy. Anyone got any advice - doctor pretty rubbish

(101 Posts)
LadySnotAlot Mon 07-Jul-08 18:25:54


I went to the doctors a while back with my son who had an infection in his penis. He is 5 1/2 and still can't pull his foreskin back over his penis. (Apparently this should be able to happen at about 2 or 3 years.)

The Doctors said to try and stretch the skin back over his penis (but there's so much skin we can't, and it's getting worse) and yet many websites say not to pull the skin back as it can cause tears.

Does anyone have any children that have suffered or had a circumcision etc?

Help v much appreciated.

mummyloveslucy Mon 07-Jul-08 18:44:11

My brother was circumcised at about the same age as your son for the same problem. His tight foreskin was actually stopping his penis from growing. It was fine after he had it done.
Why is the doc useless? I'd take him to have a second oppinion if you're concered, especially if it's causing any discomfort. Good Luck.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 07-Jul-08 18:45:33

DS (6) has this. He has some steroid cream to soften the skin. Out GP says circumcision unusual unless repeated infections, which DS hasn't had.

asteamedpoater Mon 07-Jul-08 19:04:16

They try to delay circumcision until about the age of 10, now, if possible, because most foreskins do stretch enough eventually. Repeated infections (ie balanitis), however, can cause the foreskin to adhere to the penis so that it cannot ever be pulled back, which would then require circumcision.

I would go back to your GP and insist at least on being given a steroid cream to try and help the skin thin and stretch a bit, as it could indeed tear it and cause scarring if you pull it back too far, otherwise (or even worse, succeed in pulling the foreskin right back and then getting it stuck there, cutting off the blood supply to the penis and requiring a trip to A&E).

If cream doesn't work and your son does end up getting more infections, it might be worth asking for a referral for specialist advice, as I think they do try other procedures before they resort to circumcision, if possible.

fordfiesta Mon 07-Jul-08 19:38:45

Hi, my 3yr year old has a very tight foreskin (i was on here stressing about three months ago because he had a bad inf and was bouncing around the house in agony refusing to pee!!!), we have been ref to a consultant re possibility of a circumcision and know two other lads a year older than ds who have had a circumcision due to repeated infections..... so far ds has only had one bad inf and am happy not to persue the idea of circumcision until he is older (if needed) unless the infections become a regular occurance. We have been advised to encourage him to 'play with his bits' in the bath (not that he needs much encouragement) to see if it will stretch naturally.
On the flip side however...... in someways i would prefer him to have the op before he has any embarrassment of body parts........ have you been ref to a consultant, guess the best bet is to see what they advise.
I did not find anything particularly useful on the internet either really.

LadySnotAlot Wed 09-Jul-08 12:47:46

Hmm yes he's had 2 infections requiring antibiotics already and the tip of his bits always look red.

madrilenya Thu 10-Jul-08 09:33:25

My Ds,2 and a half years old, was in hospital due to infection. We decided to go for circumcision 2 days ago. The procedure itself was very quick 10 minutes and he was happy when leaving the room. However after the local anestetic wears off the pain when he wee is horrible. I did it because my brother had to have it done when he was older(19) and he said that he was traumatised forever so he recommends that if it has to be done the sooner the better. My consolation when i see my Ds crying in pain is that at least he want remember.

madrilenya Thu 10-Jul-08 09:35:47

shockops!! Hopefully he WON'T remember

LadySnotAlot Thu 10-Jul-08 16:37:14

Yes apparently the younger they have it done, the easier it is to recover too. My doctor is of the ilk stretch it and see what happens but never mentioned that he could tear it if he does! It's actually getting tighter!

bossykate Thu 10-Jul-08 16:55:20

we have just had ds circumcised (aged 6) for this very reason. he had had an episode where we had to take him to a&e because he had retracted the foreskin and it wouldn't go back. this can be a very serious problem and therefore, having had the risks explained to us, we decided to go ahead with the surgery. the op is quite minor, he was a day patient only, however, he was allowed almost no physical activity for a week afterwards, off school for a week and off pe and games for another week after that. the tip of his penis got a little sore after the op, but quickly cleared up. his urine stream was divided for a little while which worried us (we now have a follow up apt scheduled) but seemed to resolve by itself.

what else would you like to know?

4under5 Mon 01-Sep-08 13:53:19


We have just been told that our little three and half year old has to be circumcised due to very very tight foreskin. I am really terrified about the whole thing. His is so tight that it apparently won't work trying to stretch it, although he hasn't had a single infection and has no problems weeing. I feel rushed as the nurse doctor etc kept stressing to me that tnhe younger we do it the better as it is so aweful you want him to forget about it so we are in a panic!
Any advice?

FlightAttendent Mon 01-Sep-08 13:57:25

OP - have you tried stopping using bubble bath?

This sounds daft I know but seriously - ds got two infections in his when we used bubbles etc in the bath. The GP said it is very very commonly caused or triggered by these things and if you qmpletely stop using them he should be fine. Stopped bubble baths and shampoo in the water, and he is fine...

Also no soap. Just water and a stuff called Oilatum you can get prescribed.

Worth a shot - I see circumcision as very much a last resort. Amazing how many GPs we saw before her were ready to send us to the circ consultant hmm

MatildaM Wed 03-Sep-08 18:43:25

My DS1 had this problem and we saw a consultant when he was 9. He could not move the skin at all at that time. The doctor said that he had stopped doing circumcisions because new research showed that in almost every case the problem resolves itself when the boy reaches puberty and starts to have erections. DS1 now 12 and perfectly normal, he started puberty at 11 and the problem disappeared exactly as predicted.
So glad we didn't put him through the operation.

Furball Wed 03-Sep-08 18:48:40

do't know if this pagehelps anyone?

4under5 Tue 30-Sep-08 15:18:50

MatildaM, My son's op is scheduled for 23rd Oct so your message has just given me some hope of an alternative. I have already seen 3 doctors though and all have said to have op. I asked them of something else I'd heard of where you simply loosen the skins rather than remove it, and NONE had heard of it, yet on here I just read the work "frenuloplasty". I wish I knew what research your doc had read as this sounds great. Glad your son didn't have to have it done.

nonickname123 Thu 09-Aug-12 21:36:18

I am European and circumcision is very rare there (of course Jews and Muslims have it). My two boys are said to have tight foreskin (6 and 4). Since they were 3 their doctor would insist on cream and trying to pull it gently. I refuse to do it not to traumatize them. Imagine what would go through mind of a child mother trying to pull soft gentle organ. Nobody (tiny percentage of course would be) is getting penile cancers and all kinds of infections in non-circumcised countries including asian who are some of the healthiest people in the world. In USA, doctors are heavily pro-circumcision. For health reasons there are very few instances that it might be good. If you read studies by lets say Australian doctors then statistics are totally different. For example, they say that by age 18, 50% of the boys still don't have the skin retracting and consider that normal. In USA and England (another country that made circim.almost obligatory) it is that by age 4, 85% have a skin fully retracting. It means that they pull the statistics out of their ars whatever is needed for them. What I don't understand why such young boys would have a skin retracting while the penis is not growing so fast. The size changes when there is erection at much later age. Why do they force this on children? I am very confused and don't know what to believe. A few women I talked to (is hard to find since everybody circumcises their kids in USA) all have kids with the same problem. So why is that considered a problem if it is more a norm. Infections in kids also are heavily due to consumption of sugars and not enough of probiotics. Kids get all kinds of infections in any case and to go the unnatural way to supposedly to prevent is wrong as it prevents almost nothing. They always say that it has been done for thousand years but I can imagine millions of boys dead because of the infections from circumcision. Of course, there are serious cases and for everything there is a story by some one how happy they are that they did it but it can be faulty because people will force themselves to believe that they are happy for the drastic decisions. The worst part is that I don't trust the doctors here even though many are good.

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vinaflynn Fri 12-Sep-14 01:09:11

The foreskin is fused to the glans at birth to protect against infection. Never retract and never let anyone but the boy retract, not even a doctor, not even a little. Most boys do not retract until 10-17 years old and that is fine. Retraction and using soap to wash under the foreskin will cause infections and even tissue damage. This can be fixed in most cases by stopping those actions and letting it heal. A little vitamin E or coconut oil may help. American doctors are often ignorant of normal foreskin development and tell parents to retract to clean and retract them in the office. This causes damage that they then say needs to be fixed with circumcision. Even if your child is having infections and has damage because of improper care, there are other treatments like stretching (having the boy gently pull the foreskin away from his body and very gently spreading the opening). Nobody but the boy should do this and sitting in a warm tub while doing this is best. Warm salt water baths also help with healing. A dorsal slit can be done by a doctor if nothing else works. This saves the valuable foreskin, while opening it up and relieving pain.
I am not a doctor, but I am an RN with 19 years of erience in health care work

FrankMcGinness Fri 12-Sep-14 08:27:33

I applaud vinaflynn for the spot on answer. I read it with yes, yes, yes. Though age 19 has been documented with still having some of the NATURAL adherence connecting the foreskin with the glans. I'll add that testosterone is the mediator to separate this connected tissue which are continuous mucosa. And bubble baths are the worst offenders to unbalancing the foreskins ability to maintain a constant pH. (The latest study shows the application of Vaseline after circumcision for 6 months shows a 50% decrease in meatal stenosis and bleeding.)

I chose circumcision at age 4-5. It is the worst, having experienced erection problems at age 21 and during puberty experiencing a continuous loss of sensitivity, are the results of cutting out of a complete venous flow and following keratinization. Be it straight or gay sex, it IS obvious intact genitals are way more pleasurable, for both partners. Circumcision cuts of 65%-85% of the male's sexual fine-touch receptors and then limits these remaining 15% stretch receptors from being fully deployed by severely straitjacketing the remaining 50% skin and mucosa. We all have a primal ability to communicate with our bodies, so circumcision with the taking of 75% sensors and 50% covering does very much limits one's experience in EVERY WAY. I am a survivor of circumcision. Want to know more? (For facts, hypothesis, and musings, please read my notes on facebook. FrankMcginness.7 Pleaes take advantage of my experience and online research that was initially 6 months @ 10 hours/day.

americanmommyinuk Fri 12-Sep-14 09:23:00

Phimosis is actually the NORMAL state of the penis in childhood. Many 'infections' are actually just the foreskin loosening from the glans....this can cause some redness and irritation and possibly cause some stinging when he goes pee. Separation is a normal, ongoing process in most cases and can take several years. You can see that separation is happening as the foreskin will puff out during urination. This is NORMAL.
Retraction, however, doesn't usually happen until much later. The whole 2-3 years thing is actually been proven as false. The study which showed that was done in the 1950s and involved a lot of manipulation of the foreskin by parents/ was NOT natural retraction as nature intended. The average age of Natural retraction is 10.7 years! Steroids are is most definitely jumping the gun! If he can pee, his foreskin is not too tight.

I'll say that again.

If he can pee, his foreskin is NOT TOO TIGHT!!

Do not try to pull it back. What you read on that is accurate: it most certainly can cause tears and THAT can lead to true phimosis, as in adult onset phimosis. Scar tissue can develop and truly cause the foreskin to be non-retractable. In that case, steroid cream can almost always help, sometimes along with gentle stretching....but that diagnosis cannot be made until at least age 18!

If his foreskin is red and irritated, add some baking soda to his bath. If peeing causes some stinging, get an old butter bowl or something you can toss out later, fill with warm water, and let him pee with his penis in the water to help dilute the urine touching the freshly exposed glans underneath. He does not need surgery for having a normal penis doing what penises do!

For the record, I have a 4 year old son who is intact. He has had ballooning, redness, and irritation, too. I would never consider circumcising him for these issues because I know they are normal.

americanmommyinuk Fri 12-Sep-14 09:25:09

Umm, that should say Separation is a normal process and in most cases can take's always a normal process! Haha

Lightf00t Fri 12-Sep-14 13:14:14

Phimosis doesn't exist at 5 yr old. There is no law or necessity for the foreskin to retract. And it does not prevent the penis from growing--that's a myth.

Do not retract. What's your obsession with retracting your son's penis? Leave it alone. I had an irretractable foreskin for the first 14 years of my life, which I had no problems with at all. When I started masturbating, the foreskin provided me with great sexual pleasure. My parents and I were victims of medical negligence because we were told I should be circumcised, but didn't have the procedure explained or the ramifications, so it was not informed consent. Circumcision removed all potential for sexual sensation from my penis.

The foreskin is where virtually all sexual sensation comes from on a man's penis, contrary to what many women think. The glans is virtually sexually insensitive. Circumcision is a barbaric, unnecessary, sexually crippling rite from the dark ages that has no place in modern medicine. It is at least as sexually damaging as type 2 FGM.

Anyone who circumcised their son has either knowingly or unknowingly ruined that boy's future sex life.

The reason more men don't speak out about this is because most circumcised men were mutilated at birth and have no point of comparison. Ask men who've been duped into it as adults and you get a different story. Circumcision is a euphemism for genital mutilation. It was originally done to suppress male sexual pleasure.

Put it this way. If it wasn't for the religious/cultural history of circumcision and it just came into existence today as something new, it would be made illegal and called an act of assault. Circumcision ruined my life.

Lightf00t Fri 12-Sep-14 13:18:08

Also, to all the people being overdramatic on here about infections ....

Foreskins, whether tight or loose, do not cause infections. A foreskin is not a defect. It exudes enzymes that protect against harmful bacteria.

The most likely reason your son has an infection is because you're too busy interfering with his penis, trying to force his foreskin back when it's not meant to retract. Forced retraction can cause tears which lead to infection.

Stop playing with your son's penis. All you need to do is wash him as normal. The internal environment of the penis doesn't even need soap. Men have the same sexual tissue as women, only arranged differently; soap can cause irritations and infections in men down there, just as it can in women.

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