Should I worry about a foreskin?
September 14, 2009 6:58 AM   Subscribe

Is a kinda-slightly-attached foreskin a problem in an 8 year old? YANMD. Or his doctor. I know.

But I am a mother out of her depth, and googling gives too many differing opinions, and the men I know and love and trust are all circumcised so can't offer surefire advice. (And it's about a 4 week wait for a doctors appointment, where I live. Not that you are a subsitute for a docs appointment, I would just appreciate some opinions from someone who might have some first hand knowledge, on any level.)

My boyfriend and I were discussing foreskins & circumcision, just in general conversation. Then he asked if my 8 year old son had been taught to retract his foreskin for cleaning purposes, because he is concerned that I'm obviously (embarrassingly) clueless about how to educate my son about genital health.

So I had a gentle chat with my son tonight, as he was getting into the shower. We talked about how he washes his penis, and he volunteered to show me. The foreskin moves back easily from the top, but it appears to be attached underneath, starting at that bit directly behind the glans on the underside. (You know, the male clitoris bit.)

The head turned very red (but no stiffening-erection-style) when my son pulled the skin back, but he said it didn't hurt. His foreskin is definitely firmly attached at that point underneath, though. There was no way in hell that foreskin was going to peel back from the underside.

Okay, so it doesn't hurt him NOW. But I don't want him to suffer through circumcision as a teenager, or uncomfortable sex, or even an inability to masturbate successfully.

So, would gentle manipulation (as in him retracting every day in the shower) help? Should I tell him to do it every day for a week/month/year? Or is it too late, or too serious, do we need medical intervention? Or is this normal amongst uncircumcised males?

And yes, I know I'm a terrible mother for not even thinking of this before, but I did ask his father to teach him all the boy/penis stuff. Obviously he hasn't. (My stepdad eventually taught my son how to pee standing up without it going all over the walls and the ceiling, but he's circumcised, and is as unsure as I am about this.)
posted by malibustacey9999 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
posted by cocoagirl at 7:03 AM on September 14, 2009

Have his pediatrician look at it on his next visit. An exam is necessary to accurately answerthe question. It sounds like it hasen't been causing any problems, so there is no need to get make a special trip unless things change.
posted by TedW at 7:46 AM on September 14, 2009

Sounds lke a perfectly normal foreskin to me. They're supposed to be attached on the underside.

At least, I hope they are...
posted by ComfySofa at 7:54 AM on September 14, 2009

The only foreskin I've seen attaches at the underside of the head of the penis - when it's erect, the foreskin pretty much is just stretched out over the shaft and is not obvious. in a non-erect uncircumcised penis, it's not obvious how it can possibly work. If you are concerned, definitely talk to the doctor about it, but from my limited experience, this sounds normal.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:07 AM on September 14, 2009

See the previously mentioned above. Forskins detach at different rates for different boys. It should all work itself out by puberty. No worries.
posted by Bueller at 9:14 AM on September 14, 2009

Sounds totally normal.
posted by kathrineg at 9:34 AM on September 14, 2009

If you have any doubt it's worth it to get it checked out. Our son had to get a minor procedure done at age 5 when our pediatrician determined there was still some attachment that could cause some problem later in life.
posted by jcmilton at 1:55 PM on September 14, 2009

Response by poster: I've realised that I assumed (I know, never assume ANYTHING, when will I learn?) that the foreskin should retract equally all the way around, if that makes sense. I think that's why I was surprised that it seems to be connected closer to the end, on the underside.

I will get it checked at the next docs visit, but at least I won't be worrying til then that waiting for a few weeks for an appointment will disfigure him for life somehow!

Many thanx for your input, everyone.

(And special thanx to cocoagirl, I did search but that question didn't come up in the results. I found it very helpful.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:09 PM on September 14, 2009

Totally normal; from your description I'm guessing you mean it's attached at the frenulum, just under the head/just south of the urethra. It's supposed to be like that. Double check with the pediatrician, but it's almost certainly normal.

(Not a doctor, but am familiar with penises.)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:56 AM on September 15, 2009

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