Excellent Pediatric Rule of Thumb for babies and young boys:
INTACT = DON'T RETRACT!
ONLY CLEAN WHAT IS SEEN
Answer by Marilyn Milos
Question: I am very concerned about my intact son, who is two-and-a-half-years-old. One day, I noticed that he was bleeding lightly at the tip of his penis. This led to the discovery that my son's father, who does not live with us, had been forcibly retracting my son's foreskin "in order to clean the head of the penis." Two days ago my son's penis grew red and swollen about a half-inch from the tip and my son began complaining of pain. I took him to the pediatrician (another advocate of foreskin retraction), who insisted that the infection was due to my failure to retract the foreskin and clean out "all the gunk" that accumulates here. He put him on a ten-day course of antibiotics. I have done my research and know that you should never be prematurely retracting the foreskin and that the pediatrician and my son's father are wrong, but I feel like the damage has been done. At this point, how do I properly care for the current infection and how do I prevent future infections from occurring. I would also like to switch over to a pediatrician who is more enlightened when it comes to genital integrity. Do you know of any in the Miami, Florida area?
Answer: Your poor son. Both his father and pediatrician are uninformed and the latter has given you terrible advice. Once everyone leaves your son's foreskin alone, he'll return to good health. Even if his foreskin has been retracted, leave it alone! He'll fiddle with it on his own and no one should be attempting to retract it. Please go to the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, click on Directory in the menu at the top of the page, and again on Important Articles when the next screen comes up. Then, read the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th articles (two are by Dr. Paul Fleiss and were published in Mothering magazine). Then, back on the home page, click in the box with the pamphlets, and read pamphlets 3, 4, 6, and 7. Once you've read these, you'll know more than your son's doctor learned in medical school. Please print these articles and pamphlets out and give them to your son's father and pediatrician.
Because your son is taking antibiotics, you should be giving him some (a tablespoon or so) liquid acidophilus culture (you can get it at the health food store) two hours after he takes the antibiotic and several times again before he takes the next dose. This will replenish his supply of good bacteria. When the course of antibiotics is done, give him the acidophilus for a few more days.
Remember, too, that bubble baths, soap and shampoo in the bath, and highly chlorinated swimming pools and hot tubs also disturb the bacterial balance and can cause the foreskin to get red, itchy, and sting with urination. Should these happen, eliminating the irritant will allow the foreskin to heal and the process can be helped and hurried by applying liquid acidophilus culture to your son's foreskin six times a day for three days.
Your son is a lucky boy to have a protective mother! He's also lucky to have a foreskin. Now, just make sure everyone (including the doctor) leaves his penis alone.