A great article about how to care for an uncircumcised penis: http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/DOC/faq.html
More and more North American boys are being allowed to keep their normal, natural penis the way nature designed it, and circumcision rates are dropping steadily. In the Western US the number of intact (not circumcised) boys is over 70% now and rising, with around 90% of boys kept intact in neighboring Western Canada. But because circumcision was once so widespread, both N. American physicians and parents have lost the ancient ‘folklore’ about how to care for a normal, natural, intact boy. This is especially true in the USA, the last country to impose routine infant circumcision on a majority of its children. One recent medical textbook on care of the newborn freely admits:
“Because circumcision is so common in the United States, the natural history of the preputial development has been lost, and one must depend on observations made in countries in which circumcision is usually not practiced.” (Avery’s Neonatology: Pathophysiology and Management of the Newborn, by Mhairi G. Macdonald, Mary M. Seshia, and Martha D. Mullett (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins–2005, at page 1088).
The myth that boys need special penile hygiene, including forced retraction of the foreskin to clean the glans, was started by 19th century physicians who suggested that the child’s penis produced itchy substances which encouraged masturbation. As they believed masturbation caused insanity, blindness, tuberculosis, and a litany of other diseases (for which they could offer no other cure), these early physicians urged parents to employ aggressive, even cruel, hygiene. Those pre-germ myths became imbedded in English language culture and linger even today. They can even be heard in locker room jokes. As a result, our DOC physicians get regular complaints from parents of sons about antique advice given by well-intentioned but ill-informed medical professionals or older relatives. One medical historian points out how odd it is that boys alone were affected by this mythology:
“To appreciate the scale of the error, consider its equivalent in women: it would be as if doctors had decided that the intact hymen in infant girls was a congenital defect known as ‘imperforate hymen’ arising from ‘arrested development’ and hence needed to be artificially broken in order to allow the interior of the vagina to be washed out regularly to ensure hygiene.” (Dr. Robert L. Darby, “A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain” Univ. of Chicago Press 2005:235)
Thus in English-language countries, both medical providers and parents need updating in the proper way to care for the intact boy the way Europeans have understood it for centuries. Luckily this is amazingly easy—mostly, there is nothing to do –but do nothing.
We provide below some answers to common questions curious or concerned parents ask our DOC physicians all the time. We hope these provide some comfort and reassurance. Of course each child is unique. For highly unusual cases and special circumstances, we are able to recommend ‘foreskin-friendly’ medical providers in many parts of North America. Please email us in confidence and privacy if the discussion below does not assist you with your son’s situation, or you need the face-to face help of a medical provider in your region. Feel free to print out this text or portions of it, to present to your medical providers if you feel that is appropriate. We encourage you to do so.
Check out the remainder of this article to find answers to the below questions:
Was I foolhardy to leave my son intact?
* Does my intact (not circumcised) son require any special hygiene?
* Is it necessary to pull a boy’s foreskin back to clean it?
* Is it true my son’s foreskin should have been retractable by age 5?
* Should I retract my son’s foreskin just a little bit more each day?
* Does my son really need a circumcision to treat a foreskin infection?
* What if my son gets a urinary tract infection?
* Why does my son’s foreskin puff-out when he pees?
* Do the white bumps under my son’s foreskin indicate infection?
* Does my son’s overhanging foreskin need a ‘trim’?
* How do I stop my toddler from ‘fiddling’ with his penis in front of our guests?
* What should I tell my son to say if he is teased for being intact?