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Types of Foreskin Retraction Problems
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MILD PENIS OR SCROTUM SYMPTOMS|
Treatment for Mild Rash or Itching of Penis or Scrotum
- Since hand-to-penis contact is normal during urination, the rash is probably from an irritant that was on the hands.
- Examples are a plant (e.g., evergreen), chemicals (e.g., insecticides), Fiberglass, detergents, pet saliva or even food.
- This small rash sounds harmless. You can treat it at home.
- Cleansing: Wash the area once with soap to remove any irritants.
- Hydrocortisone Cream: For itchy rashes, apply 1% hydrocortisone cream (no prescription needed) 2 times per day for a few days.
- Antibiotic Ointment: For any cuts, sores or scabs that look infected, apply an antibiotic ointment (no prescription needed) 2 times per day until seen.
- Prevention: Teach your son that if his hands are dirty, to wash them before urinating.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash spreads or becomes worse
- Rash lasts over 3 days
- Fever occurs
- Your child becomes worse
- Reassurance - Normal Separation of the Foreskin:
- At birth, the foreskin is normally attached to the head of the penis (glans) by a layer of cells.
- Over the next 5 to 10 years, the foreskin will naturally separate from the head of the penis. It gradually loosens up (retracts) a little at a time.
- Normal erections during childhood probably cause most of the change by stretching the foreskin.
- Any degree of foreskin movement is normal as long as your boy has a normal urine stream.
- There should be no rush to achieve full retraction. Full retraction always occurs naturally by puberty.
- Cleansing Before Age 1 Year:
- During the first year of life, only clean the outside of the foreskin.
- Don't make any attempts at retraction.
- Don't put any cotton swabs into the opening.
- Foreskin Retraction:
- Begin gentle partial retraction at 1-2 yrs of age.
- It can be done once/week during bathing.
- Perform retraction by gently pulling the skin on the shaft of the penis backward toward the abdomen.
- This will make the foreskin open up, revealing the end of the glans.
- Cleansing After Age 1 Year:
- As the foreskin becomes retractable on its own, cleanse beneath it to prevent infections.
- Cleanse the exposed part of the glans gently with warm water and dry it.
- Do not use soap or leave soapy water under the foreskin, because this can cause irritation and swelling.
- Wipe away any whitish material (smegma) that you find there.
- Reposition: After cleansing, always pull the foreskin forward to its normal position.
- Avoid Vigorous Retraction:
- This can cause pain, bleeding, or tears of the tissue.
- It also may cause the foreskin to become stuck behind the head of the penis (paraphimosis).
- Retraction is excessive if it causes any discomfort or crying.
- Teach Child: By age 5 or 6, teach your son to retract his own foreskin and clean beneath it once a week during bathing to prevent poor hygiene and infection.
- Pain Following Recent Attempt at Retraction:
- The attempt to retract the foreskin has probably caused a small cut or tear. Raw surfaces are painful.
- Cover the raw area with a layer of antibiotic ointment.
- If you don't have one, use petroleum jelly.
- Once the raw surface is protected from the air, the pain should improve in a few hours.
- Continue twice a day until healed (usually 1 or 2 days).
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain lasts over 24 hours
- Foreskin looks infected
- Other foreskin problems occur
- Smegma - General Information:
- Smegma is the name given to the small pieces of whitish material that can build up under the foreskin if it is not pulled back and cleaned regularly. It is also commonly seen through the part of the foreskin that is still stuck to the head of the penis before the foreskin becomes retractable.
- Smegma is the accumulation of dead skin cells that are normally shed from the glans (head of the penis) and lining of the foreskin throughout life, and trapped under the foreskin.
- Smegma is normal and harmless. It is not a sign of an infection.
- Smegma Before Age 1 Year:
- Smegma that is seen through the foreskin but lies beyond the level to which the foreskin can be retracted, should be left alone until normal separation exposes it.
- During the first year of life, do not make any attempts at retracting the foreskin.
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 10/13/2011
Last Revised: 10/13/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.