Dr. Linda, my partner and I decided not to circumcise our son. Is there anything special we need to know about caring for his uncircumcised penis?
As a general rule, if your son has an uncircumcised penis, he should be able to pull the foreskin back completely over the head of his penis by the time he is a teenager.
Facts you Need to Know
Facts you need to know while caring for your son’s uncircumcised penis
There are natural adhesions between the foreskin and the head of the penis which make it difficult to pull the foreskin over the head of the penis. The natural adhesions between the head of his penis and the foreskin will dissolve over time and you (or your child) will be able to gently pull the foreskin back easily.
The foreskin has a small opening in it that allows urine to pass through it. If it gets irritated or infected this opening can get too narrow and cause issues with urination (phimosis).
There is a space between the head of the penis and the foreskin which may fill with urine or balloon up as your son pees. The ballooning should go away quickly after your son has stopped urinating. If it doesn’t, or urine is getting caught in this space talk to your doctor about this as soon as possible.
Small white balls of loose cells may form under the foreskin. These help the foreskin and the head of the penis separate from each other and will be expelled once the foreskin is more easily pulled back. They are normal and nothing to worry about.
After your baby is about 6 months old, as the adhesions start to naturally dissolve, you can start to very gently pull the foreskin back a tiny bit at a time. If your baby cries, stop for now.
Keep this exposed area clean with water alone to cut down on the risk of infection and irritation in this area. Over time you will notice the opening in the foreskin gets bigger and as the adhesions dissolve it gets easier to pull back (retract) the foreskin.
Don’t worry if the foreskin only comes back a tiny bit in the beginning. As the adhesions dissolve you (or your child) will be able to safely pull it farther and farther until it comes completely over the head of the penis easily and painlessly ( by the time he is a teenager) .
Be very careful not to pull the foreskin back forcibly or too far. You don’t want to hurt your baby or, more importantly, force the foreskin over the head of the penis before the adhesions have dissolved or the opening is big enough. This could cause the foreskin to get stuck and create an emergency situation(see below).
Clean the newly exposed area gently with water.
Then gently put the foreskin back in its original position. You don’t want it getting stuck in a position that could cause discomfort or skin complications later on.
What are possible complications of an uncircumcised penis?
Infections in the penis or foreskin.
Urinary tract infections are 4-10 times more common in boys who are uncircumcised compared to those who are.
The foreskin getting stuck over the head of the penis. This could cut off the blood to the head of the penis and is an emergency to restore the blood flow. An emergency circumcision may be needed to restore the blood supply to the area.
When to call your Doctor?
Contact your doctor immediately if:
If your newborn has a fever (100.4F or 38.5C)
Your son’s penis is red and/or swollen or bleeding.
Your newborn is not eating well.
The foreskin is stuck over the head of the penis and you can’t put it back in its normal place.
As Soon as Possible if
Contact your doctor as soon as possible if:
Your baby cries every time he urinates.
Your baby’s urine stream is weak and dribbles out or is crooked
Urine gets stuck in the area between the foreskin and the head of the penis when your baby pees.
You are worried about how your son’s penis looks or how to take care of it.
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