How should I take care of an uncircumcised penis?
The foreskin or extra skin around the head of the penis is normally attached to the head of the penis at birth. If your child was circumcised, the extra skin was cut away to expose the head of the penis. Whether the foreskin is present (uncircumcised) or absent (circumcised) it is important to keep this area as clean as possible.
Because the foreskin is attached early in life and complete retraction normally will not take place for 5-6 years, it is harmful to try to forcefully pull back the foreskin for cleaning purposes. During bathing, using water only, gently wipe the exposed tip of the penis using gentile retraction. You may see whitish discharge called “smegma” during this process. Try to gently wipe this away with water and a wash cloth. It is normal to have smegma, or dead skin, which has come loose from the foreskin attachment to the penis. After cleansing and thorough rinsing with water, gently pat the area dry and pull the foreskin forward over the head of the penis. Cleansing should be done daily, but remember the foreskin, will retract (loosen from the head of the penis) on its own, do not try to force it.
When should I call my pediatrician?
- If the foreskin gets caught behind the head of the penis and cannot be pulled forward.
- Any swelling, blueness, or redness of the penis or foreskin is present.
- If you believe the area to be infected.
- If your child’s urine stream is weak or more than one stream is noted during urination.