This site discusses phimosis in its specific forms of phimotic ring, frenulum breve, adhesions or skinbridges. During erection these conditions inhibit the relationship between foreskin and glans. This functionally restricts the erection, and thus has an effect on the sexuality. With our culture's attitudes on health care, it would be appropriate to monitor boys before puberty and encourage early prevention.

2012 : note from author: My previous idea of monitoring boys before puberty is impractical, unecessary and now only of historical interest. please see Postscript.

PEDIATRICIAN ADVISES TUGGING

When my son was 2 years old he had balanitis, and I took him to his pediatrician who forcefully pulled back his foreskin and advised me to continue this practice. My husband did so twice but it seemed to cause my son so much pain that I insisted that we stop. I contacted the pediatrician again and he stood by his recommendation. We did not continue to pull the foreskin back however, because I found numerous sources which advised against it. My son is now almost 5 years old and I believe that his foreskin may be too tight for him to pull it back on his own. I have tried to encourage him to do so gradually but he says it hurts. I am worried that retracting the foreskin at age 2 may have caused a true phimosis. How does one know if that is the case? I am actually afraid to go to another pediatrician because the one I went to is considered quite informed and he gave the wrong advice. What do you think? I would appreciate a reply as I am probably one of the only people in Kentucky who did not circumcise her son and I have no one to ask .

Thank you for answering my letter. I have already read everything on your site and after doing so, I feel somewhat better, but still it seems that by age 4 1/2 most boys have retractable foreskins.

I think my son experiences pain whether the penis is erect or flaccid if we attempt to push back the foreskin. He also says it hurts when his penis gets "happy" (erect), but I would say it might be a little uncomfortable, but it couldn't really be hurting that much or he would show more distress.

Since reading your info, I have encouraged him to pull forward on the foreskin and roll it between his fingers. I'm not sure why, but he says he is not going to "do the weenie thing." I have certainly never scolded him about self-manipulation, but as far as I know, he rarely does it.

There are no infections, and the balanitis he experienced at 2 was due to diapers I guess. That was the reason I took him to the pediatrician, and the pediatrician just forcfully pulled back the foreskin in the office and said, "His problem is that he is too tight." My son cried. The pediatrician told us to continue to do this at home, but I could not bring myself to do so even once. My husband did it twice. I wish I had never listened to the pediatrician because I felt it was wrong. You are correct when you say that most doctors in the states have never seen a foreskin. I called the local hospital for advice and they told me to just start pulling it back. This was the same avice I got from the pediatrician.

We are definitely in a minority. My entire family thinks I am crazy because I refused to circumcise my son. I have worried that maybe all around me were correct and I was wrong. I hope not.

I have examined him as much as I feel that I can without causing any pain. I feel bad enough about his earlier experience. I don't want to do that again. But it appears to me that the opening in the foreskin is too small. The opening is big enough for me to see part of the head of the penis, but not much. I have noticed though that the foreskin can be pulled forward very far away from the penis, and this causes no discomfort. One of the articles I read on your site said that the opening might at first appear as small as a pin hole but by the time the boy is 17 it would be big enough . That made me feel better, but should the foreskin be retractable at his age or can I relax about it and give it more time? I want to make sure that I do what is right for my son. I fear that if I take him to a pediatrician here they will either recommend forcfully pulling back on the foreskin, or worse and more likely, they will recommend that I have him circumcised now.

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Notes: I think its crazy to tug around on baby boys foreskins and cause them pain, an adult would never cause themselves so much pain.. .... I argue against leaving an unretracted foreskins alone till the age of 17 This advice is given by many anti-circumcision sites. This figure comes from Øster`s study which has been considerably misinterpreted.