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Mums of boys - need some help re foreskins (detailed, sorry)

(12 Posts)
wilbur Thu 04-Aug-05 18:27:13

Ds is 4.5 and from what I understand, it's time for me to teach him how to keep himself clean around and under the foreskin. Am I right? The problem is, when he was a baby he had a couple of infections there due to a tight foreskin (phymosis / fimosis sp?) At the time they said his foreskin would loosen and should retract fully by the time he is about 4. I would say that ds's foreskin currently retracts about halfway (gently, not forcing it) and then it looks tight and he says it is sore. Also, one thing I have read says something about leaving the foreskin back after washing for everything to dry. So my questions are:

Should I be worried that his foreskin does not yet retract fully?

Should ds be able to leave his foreskin back to dry?

How should he clean himself there?

Any other things I haven't thought of?

Unfortunately, dh is circumcised and has got about as much clue as I do.

Lonelymum Thu 04-Aug-05 18:30:19

I know a lot about foreskins, regretably! I have three boys. Ds1 and ds3 were born with a defect in their urethral openings, and ds2 has quite a tight foreskin.

Anyway, latest opinion from a paediatric surgeon is that the foreskin does not need to be fully retractable until about 14.

Your ds should try to retract his foreskin as much as possible, but without hurting himself. And yes, he should clean himself.

wilbur Thu 04-Aug-05 18:40:39

Ah - glad to hear about the 14 thing (although now trying to imagine asking a 14 yr old if his foreskin retracts fully yet...). When he has washed, should he pull it back as far as it will go again afterwards so it can dry?

Lonelymum Thu 04-Aug-05 18:52:19

I don't know about drying it! Mine just gratefully let go of the foreskin once they have dabbed a sponge in the direction of their member (!) so they don't go about drying it as such.

alexsmum Thu 04-Aug-05 18:59:04

my boy is 5 and has recently discovered that it will move back and he just fiddles with it a lot in the bath! i'm sure that keeps it clean enough!
i think 4 is young to be thinking of it going back....and i'm sure the cleaning underneath thing is just to get them used to doing ready for when they areolder and start producing smegma.

sorry to use that word..it's grooss isn't it?!

aloha Thu 04-Aug-05 19:35:38

Um, I'd just leave it alone, completely. As for leaving it to dry, sorry but I think that's nonsense. Boys fiddle with their willies quite enough to keep everything as loose as it needs to be.

KiwiKate Fri 05-Aug-05 11:36:49

Wilbur, if you do a google search you'll find a lot of info on this. I think there was another thread on this on mnet too. Someone did a link to the American Paediatrics Association - who strongly suggested LEAVE IT ALONE. Let them fiddle/play with it in the bath. Apparently they discover it for themselves when the time is right. If you clean under the foreskin there is a chance of infection (if any soap stays under there - so soap should not be used, but it is ok to play in soapy water).

4 is very young to start trying to move it back. Each boy is different, and as noted below, some only go all the way back in their teen years. The danger with pulling it back too soon is that you can cause damage to the foreskin or willy. According to the paediatrics website it will move back naturally when it is ready to do so (boys have erections even at a young age, which acheives this, also the normal "fiddling" that boys do)

If you are going to pull it back, do NOT leave it back. My mum did this with my brother when he was little (it was advice then to pull it back and clean it - this is no longer main stream medical advice). The willy swelled up (not sure why) and the foreskin ended up "strangling" the tip of the willy. He had to have an operation to cut the foreskin so that it could go back over the tip of the willy. Mum said he sobbed for 2 days and nights after that with the pain!

My DS is 2.3yo, and we are just leaving it. I would NEVER pull it back. If it is sore or inflamed then there could be an infection and we'd just get medical advice if that happens.

frogs Fri 05-Aug-05 11:47:15

Leave it alone. Ds is 6 and I have no idea whether his foreskin comes back ( I suspect not very far). In the bath he washes his willy with some soap and water. I don't think he retracts the foreskin to do this, but it all looks healthy enough to me.

I believe you can cause far more problems by messing about with it than you can by leaving it alone. As others have said, little boys fiddle about quite enough without anyoone else getting in on the action.

BarefootMama Fri 05-Aug-05 11:52:24

my poor ds is 12 and has a 'tagged' foreskin! We tried each night ( when it was discovered) to gently ease it back but it caused too much pain. Then we took him to docs and paediatrician who said wait till he is 14/15 ( seems awfully late to me) I cant bare it!! I feel so sorry for him ( two other boys one 8 years old with fully retarcting foreskin - one - 2.5 never tried) I really feel sorry for ds1 and wish there was something more we can do - how can it be properly clean - he is 13 in a fortnight!!

HappyMumof2 Fri 05-Aug-05 13:51:26

Message withdrawn

KiwiKate Sat 06-Aug-05 06:26:26

HappyMumof2 - Balantis can be caused in the first place by pulling back the foreskin before it is ready, and also by soap not properly washed from under it (at least this is said to be one of the causes). Obviously you have medical advice to do this since since your DS has had balantis - but where a child has no problems in this area medical advice is generally to leave it alone (a google search will reveal many reputable medical sources on this point). BTW - sorry your ds had such a tough time! How horrid. Hope it all comes right soon

HappyMumof2 Sat 06-Aug-05 09:20:46

Message withdrawn

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