I have 8 year old identical twin boys and their doctor has said they have phimosis and should be circumcised. We live in Australia where most people including me are against circumcision and it is usually only advised in extreme cases. My boys have no side effects from their tight foreskins other than ballooning when they urinate. Makes for a messy toilet. They have never had an infection so this recommendation seems extreme to me but I am worried. Speaking to their friends mums, their friends foreskin fully retracts already. Will leaving their foreskins alone cause any problems later on?
Your doctor is out of touch with reality. Boys are born with the foreskin affixed to the glans. The opening is tight to protect the preputial cavity from invasion by bacteria which is common in babies, toddlers and young boys. Separation of the foreskin from the glans takes time, often years, but is usually accomplished by the onset of puberty. Likewise, the increase in the diameter of the opening takes time, also often coinciding with the beginning of puberty. Some boys mature earlier, and as you can see by reading some of the posts here, many take longer. It is not unusual for teens not to be able to retract their foreskins.
At the present time, your boys need nothing but to have everyone keep their hands off their penises. The ballooning when urinating indicates that the foreskin is separating from the glans on schedule, so that's a good thing. In time, with some maniupulation by the boys themselves, retraction will gradually be possible. Leaving them as they are will cause absolutely no problems. Tell the doctor to take a hike.
An important concept in medicine, is that of variation. While you expect things to happen or to appear within certain "normal" limits, the range of those things may variously be narrow, or wide. An infant may walk at ten months, or at fifteen months, they do not have to all do so on their first birthday. A boy may begin puberty at eleven, or at sixteen and a girl a couple of years earlier than these, but may not even menstruate until sixteen.
A competent doctor will realise these variations and assess them accordingly. In the case of the foreskin being able to retract, the "normal" range is from a couple of months (or occasionally at birth) to mid-puberty. So it is perfectly fine that your sons' friends can retract (and likely have been able to do so for some three or four years) but they themselves cannot. It is even more reassuring that neither can retract, though it would still be perfectly fine if only one could.
As Jim explains - and this is a common point of ignorance - "ballooning" indicates that the foreskin has by now separated from the glans - as it naturally needs to - and that the part of the foreskin which covers the glans (which is stretched somewhat by regular, especially nocturnal erections) is nice and loose but the tip of the foreskin which is somewhat more muscular (it has a layer of smooth muscle), has not been stretched and so just slightly restricts the flow of urine. This is more an indication of the laxity of the inner foreskin than tightness of the opening. As long as they can pee completely within 30 seconds, this should cause no concern at all. (They may need to squeeze the foreskin out at the end.)
If they understand what is expected of their foreskins - to eventually be able to retract - then they should feel free to make efforts to do this as it suits them.
Any talk of concern regarding infections (or any other "side effects") in connection with this, is entirely nonsense though even if they are protected by their tight foreskins, they should be warned against getting soap in this area.
Whereas your doctor may be competent in other areas, making such suggestions regarding "phimosis" and circumcision is an alarming indicator of very poor judgement. It is up to you, but it certainly would be a good reason to find a more competent doctor.
Edessot (no login)
Re: 8 year old with phimosis
October 15 2012, 6:44 PM
I had phimosis for 25 years and never retract my foreskin. I never had any problems as a child, only urine will not cause any infection.
When he starts masturbating, the foreskin will accumulate smegma, then yes, he'll have to begin to retract and clean the glans.
But even if they really need, never let your son be circumcised. Circumcise can solve some actual problems, but will create other problems forever unsolved that you can not imagine in your whole life.
He will not have to retract and remove "smegma" as a result of masturbating. If you were to implicate puberty (not automatically coincident with masturbation) as promoting an increase in smegma due to hormonal action, you might be somewhat correct, but this is only correct to the extent of an increase.
In fact, masturbation is more likely to loosen smegma such that it is flushed out when peeing. "Cleaning" is a dangerous concept - smegma is not harmful but allowing soap (or any supposed "substitute") to get under the foreskin and cause irritation, will result in more smegma formation.
firstly, it's blessing to have such two wonderful boys. secondly & most importantly, just as jim & paul has mentioned, don't even think of depriving your little ones of their body part. God didn't put it there for no reason. they foreskins will separate in due time & be fine as they get older.as a parent ensure they grow up with the knowledge about proper hygiene of their private organs
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