Mark983 - posted on 01/16/2013 ( 22 moms have responded )
This is a subject which many physicians in the United States are highly ignorant of. The Foreskin is to NEVER be forcibly retracted. The forekin does NOT need to be attempted to be pulled back on a child for any reason. The ONLY person that should be retracting the foreskin is the boy himself when he finds that it retracts on its own.
From the moment a boy is born the foreskin is fused to the head of the glans by a membrane called the synechia, which is the same type of membrane that seals the fingernail to the finger. As the child ages the foreskin will begin to separate from the glans until it is eventually fully able to retract. The mean age of retraction in boys is 10.5 years. Until this point the foreskin should never be retracted prematurely in an attempt to clean the penis. This would be equivalent to breaking a girls hymen in order to clean the inside of the vagina.
In non circumcising cultures parents do nt teach their sons to clean their penises even after they are able to retract. A way to look at is that circumcised men are not taught how to clean their penises, but they figure out how to do it on their own. It is the same for intact men. The obsession with cleanliness is a myth, evolution and natural selection resulted in the ideal types of reproductive organs for both genders based on environmental factors.
Forcibly retracting the foreskin before it is has retracted naturally can lead to many short term and long term consequences. These include but are not limited to:
Painful readhesions to the glans
Phimosis later in life ( where the foreskin is not able to retract )
Paraphimosis ( where the foreskin is not able to go back over the glans following retraction )
And other conditions as well
It is important to remember that the only training many pediatricians and urologists in the U.S have on the foreskin is how to cut it off. Even today many of them are completely ignorant as to how the foreskin functions as they are not taught this in medical school.
Here is a quote from the organization Doctors Opposing Circumcision:
" WARNING TO PARENTS: FORESKIN RETRACTION OF INTACT BOYS — AN EPIDEMIC (And ease of hygiene for your child)
In my capacity as the Executive Director of this international physicians’ non-profit, I field around three anguished complaints each week from parents of intact (not circumcised) boys whose foreskins were forcibly retracted by ignorant medical practitioners. Premature, forcible, foreskin retraction (PFFR) is a much more painful, serious, and potentially permanent injury than most parents imagine. It is also epidemic in English-language medicine (though apparently not elsewhere). I speculate that only one in 1,000 cases in N. America comes to our attention. Indeed many parents have no idea their child was injured or why. That might mean as many as 150,000 cases in the USA each year, but no one knows for sure.
Here is a typical incoming email. (For reasons of HIPAA protection of our parents, this complaint is a composite, details changed, but it is very typical).
I have read on a mothering website that you handle complaints about retracting the foreskin of little boys. We kept our boy, Ethan, now six months old, uncircumcised because we know it is unnecessary, painful and risky. Last week during a routine doctor visit, and before I could stop him, our pediatrician, Dr. ‘Paul,’ peeled my son Ethan’s foreskin back all the way. It happened so fast there
“Ethan screamed instantly, cried for hours, and has been restless and fussy ever since. There are now small circles, like cracks, around his foreskin, which ooze blood. His whole penis is red and swollen. Ethan is now unusually fussy as soon as his diaper is wet, and we think it must sting when he urinates. He screams when we change him or the diaper touches his penis. It just breaks my heart to hear him. He had no problems at all before this doctor visit.”
“Dr. Paul told us that we must pull Ethan’s foreskin back this way every day or at least at every bath, to prevent what he called ‘adhesions’ and to clean out the smegma that builds up there. He said that if we don’t, our boy will need to be circumcised for sure.”
“Is all this necessary? I can’t believe you need to hurt a boy to keep him clean. It makes no sense to me and I am very angry at what happened to Ethan. He was a very happy baby before this.”
* * * *
What happened to ‘Ethan’ in this composite anecdote (my three cases each week all have similar heart-breaking details) is an unmitigated, inexcusable disgrace, indefensible medical malpractice, and a clinically unnecessary (and illegal) injury to the child. ‘Mom of Ethan’ has exactly the right
Forced retraction is only rarely defensible. Inguinal hernia, undescended testicle, hydrocele, and varicocele can all be addressed without forcible retraction. The penis should be repositioned for any necessary intervention with sterile tape, not by inserted hemostat. Catheterization can be done by 'feel,' without retraction. Only in the instance of significant hypospadias or epispadias (congenital malposition of the urethral opening) might retraction be necessary and even then only if it is unavoidable collateral damage for which there should be specific follow-up care."
You can read a more in depth analysis on this subject here: http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.o...
It is appalling what is being done to intact boys in the U.S at the hands of ignorant and uninformed physicians. The true severity of the problem may unfortunately not become apparent for several years when the victims of these ignorant practicioners begin to explore their sexual nature.
Here is information on what you can do if your son has been forcibly retracted: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/forced-re...
Please take this line to heart " when intact, dont retract".