Foreskin forcibly retracted - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 05-02-2013, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I have opted leave our son intact. He is now 18 months and has been to two different family practice docs. Both are women, both are reasonably natural-minded (or at least enough so not to be overly concerned about the fact that we're choosing not to vax right now), but both have insisted on checking his penis and attempting to retract his foreskin at every visit. I have assumed this far that they are doctors, they know what they're doing and haven't said anything to them even though it makes me uncomfortable because I have always heard/read to leave the penis alone.

Have any of you had this experience with doctors before? (I'm starting to realize this is an all-too-common occurrence.) Is this something I should bring up with them and insist they stop doing? Or ask for clarification about why they're doing it next time they try? On that note - is there ever an acceptable reason TO retract the foreskin in infancy? I'm not sure if our doctors just don't run into intact boys very often or they've been given different information or what. This situation makes me nervous because I don't want to ruin the relationship I have with our doctors, and yet I don't want the doctors to (inadvertently or otherwise) hurt my son.

 

I would love some ideas of how to approach the doctors about the issue, too.

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#2 of 20 Old 05-02-2013, 03:36 PM
 
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I'm in Canada so our doctors are used to intact penises. 

 

I don't think there is ever a circumstance where they need to look under the foreskin. Is there any circumstance under which they check inside a female baby's vagina? 

 

If it were me, I would print out something from an intact care website, there must be a pamphlet about it somewhere and leave it with them, or just request that his penis not be touched at all. Doctors are (or should be) professionals and will respect a patient's wishes.  

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#3 of 20 Old 05-02-2013, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. Bringing intact care info along to an appointment seems like a good idea.

 

I also want to add a question to my original post.

 

I've realized that this is sort of a duplicate post, meaning someone very recently posted on the same subject. Sorry I didn't think to scroll down before posting! Anyway, this article (http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/info/info-forcedretraction.html) was posted as a reply to that one and I found the information in it very helpful, but it also made me realize that this could be more serious than I had originally thought. How would I be able to tell if my son has been harmed due to these women checking his foreskin at each visit? He has never indicated during or after the retractions that he was in any pain, he's never had any bleeding. Is it just a "wait and see" kind of situation? What should I be watching for?

 

Needless to say, now that I realize how serious this can be, the next time I'm in the doctor's office I won't hesitate to ask that the doctor keep her hands off his penis. (I know asking is all it would take. Our doctors are very respectful.) Ugh. What a mom fail. I really thought I understood intact care. 

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#4 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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I know this is from a while ago- but I had a similar experience. Our first appointment with a new pediatrician (female), she tried to retract the foreskin and told us it was a problem that it wasn't- telling us that we needed to, twice a day, try to retract it until it did. It made me incredibly uncomfortable and just felt wrong, both her trying to retract it and the thought of trying to force it to retract- but, like you said, she's a doctor, shouldn't she know?

 

Thankfully, my partner is well aware of how to handle intact foreskins and told me that the foreskin not retracting isn't a problem. After reading some forums here, I'm definitely going to stop her. I'm not comfortable with anyone messing with my kid's genitals more than absolutely necessary. (if there's an infection, obviously that's a horse of a different color and i'm fine with checking for infection- but trying to retract the foreskin is not the same thing!)

 

And thank you for sharing that link about the dangers of forcibly retracting the foreskin. I'll definitely try to remember to print some things about this out before the next visit, just in case she tries to insist. I now feel really upset that she told us we had to retract it- I can't imagine how horrified I would feel if I hurt my child like that...


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#5 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing your experience. :-) We're not due at the doctor for a checkup again until about a year from now, but when we do go, I'm thinking about stocking up on a few of these beforehand. I can't remember where I got the link - it may have even been from a different thread in this forum, but I'm hoping having all the info right there might help me be braver when talking to the doctor!

 

Best of luck to you. I hope your pediatrician is at least understanding of your wishes! And, of course, best case scenario, receptive to the information you bring her.

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#6 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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Our baby's only 6 weeks, so we'll have quite a few more well baby check ups in the next year, the next one is in a few weeks. After reading this forum, I'm really confused about why she thought this was a problem on a month old... I'm just glad I had a partner who was familiar with proper intact foreskin care.

 

Thank you for that link as well- I'll definitely print out some pamphlets to bring!


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#7 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 12:27 PM
 
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Welcome to the formerly "The Case Against Circumcision," ladies!

 

I wanted to give a suggestion.  Since these doctors seem to think that this is acceptable & is a good thing, they are likely doing it to other intact boys when they examine them.  While it doesn't sound like any harm has been done to your children, the next boy may not be so lucky, espeically if the parents believe that they too have to retract the child at home.  This is actually how all those men you hear about end up w/ all the problems that lead to their circ as an adult that they "wish had been done as a baby."  If their penises were left alone, they probably would have been okay.  So, I'd suggest you either make an appt to share the info or send it in now & follow up w/ a phone call.

 

I realize as a new mom, you're pretty busy. winky.gif  Just something to consider, in your spare time. lol.gif

 

Best wishes,

Sus


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#8 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 01:27 PM
 
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We had a nurse forcibly retract DS without consent at his 3 month check up. He suffered a slight tear in the edge of his foreskin as a result. It happened before I could stop her. He was in extreme pain with each urination for two weeks, or so. It was terrible, and I wish I had known this might be a possibility. It is not needed, nor is it helpful unless there is reason to suspect infection.
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#9 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 02:18 PM
 
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Our appointment is in 2 weeks, so I don't really see a need to try and get an appointment sooner, otherwise I would consider it.


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#10 of 20 Old 06-06-2013, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sus,

 

Good idea - I hadn't thought about it that way I guess. redface.gif I had been looking in to a packet of information on intact care to send to our clinic, so maybe I'll go ahead and do that in the near future.

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#11 of 20 Old 06-20-2013, 08:57 PM
 
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If you've had a physician give you improper intact care/advice, you can request educational materials be sent to them by emailing SavingSons@gmail.com with their contact information and details about your experience. I too had a bad experience with my sons pediatrician. Now my concern is like a lot of yours. Is he going to have permanent damage and now that it has already been retracted I been told to keep doing it or that they will keep pulling it back to check it. Is that necessary I feel like I need to just leave it alone and act as if it never happened than to continue retracting possibly causing more damage? Am I right?

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#12 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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My 9 month old was retracted today at his well visit.  The doc has always just looked at the tip of his penis and left it at that.  She was so quick and retracted him before I could stop her.  He didn't seem to be in pain or anything, so I don't know if it caused any damage.  What can I do now that he was retracted?  Should I give him sitz baths?  Baking soda?  I plan to bring in info next visit, but I am scared that she hurt him and it will now be a problem.  I was caught completely off guard since I had spoke to her in the past (before DS was even born) about retraction and what would happen at visits, etc and we always agreed.  I feel terrible... Help me please!


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#13 of 20 Old 11-25-2013, 10:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chloe'sMama View Post
 

My 9 month old was retracted today at his well visit.  The doc has always just looked at the tip of his penis and left it at that.  She was so quick and retracted him before I could stop her.  He didn't seem to be in pain or anything, so I don't know if it caused any damage.  What can I do now that he was retracted?  Should I give him sitz baths?  Baking soda?  I plan to bring in info next visit, but I am scared that she hurt him and it will now be a problem.  I was caught completely off guard since I had spoke to her in the past (before DS was even born) about retraction and what would happen at visits, etc and we always agreed.  I feel terrible... Help me please!

 

It's possible that his foreskin had naturally separated on its own (unusually young, but it can happen at just about any age from what I recall) and that what happened was that she made a very gentle effort to see if it was still attached or not and found it wasn't, and it just rolled back. Is it looking raw? If not, and if he's not distressed, that may be what happened.

 

I would certainly raise your concerns with her, and you don't have to wait till the next visit to do it. You made it clear that you didn't want his foreskin retracted, so she should not have been trying to do so (even if it really was just a gentle effort that found it to be already detached, why was she trying that in the first place without discussing it with you?) You could write a letter explaining your concern and asking for an explanation of what happened and why, and consider making a formal complaint if the answer doesn't satisfy you. Sounds as though probably no harm was done, but that doesn't mean what she did was OK.

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#14 of 20 Old 11-26-2013, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chloe'sMama View Post
 

My 9 month old was retracted today at his well visit.  The doc has always just looked at the tip of his penis and left it at that.  She was so quick and retracted him before I could stop her.  He didn't seem to be in pain or anything, so I don't know if it caused any damage.  What can I do now that he was retracted?  Should I give him sitz baths?  Baking soda?  I plan to bring in info next visit, but I am scared that she hurt him and it will now be a problem.  I was caught completely off guard since I had spoke to her in the past (before DS was even born) about retraction and what would happen at visits, etc and we always agreed.  I feel terrible... Help me please!

Hi mama.  I'm sorry this happened to the two of you.  :HugYour story has been told here many times, unfortunately.

 

It sounds like your ds hasn't been injured which is good.  From all the reading here over the years, it seems that one forcible retraction does not typically create problems, especially when there wasn't an immediate, obvious injury.  Like blood, crying, swelling, etc.  I'd keep an eye on it, don't use soap on the area for at least the next week (clean water baths) & see what happens.  I'm going to bet it's nothing.  

 

Now, this doesn't excuse the drs. behaviour.  I think it's doctorsopposingcircumcision.org who will send an info pack to the doctor to help them to learn about intact care.  If not there, I think www.thewholenetwork.com has packets for medpros that could be sent too.  

 

How is he today?  How are you?

 

Best wishes,

Sus


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#15 of 20 Old 11-26-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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Thanks mamas.  He is doing great this morning. No redness or swelling at all.  He has not fussed when peeing at all.  I was super surprised when she did it and will be talking with her about it.  I also asked Savingsons.org to send her some info.  

 

I just am still in shock about it and feel terrible that I didn't stop her.  I am glad it didn't hurt him, but it could have easily been the other way and there is no way the doc would have know that it wouldn't... you know.

 

Anyways, thanks so much for the support and info.

 

Do you think that he could possibly be separated already?


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#16 of 20 Old 02-09-2014, 06:49 PM
 
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I have read some truly bizarre things about intact care on the Internet. I only want to say that the penis should be left alone completely. When I was a little boy my nanny took toilet paper to the tip of my foreskin after I peed, but nothing more. The foreskin should not be considered extraneous to the penis as something that needs to be pulled back for cleaning. As an adult I rinse under it on occasion but it's by no means necessary.

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#17 of 20 Old 03-08-2014, 04:11 PM
 
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Our new family doctor just retracted our 2.5 year old before I could stop him. I quickly told him I didn't want him to do that and he commented that it HAD to be done and we should be doing it regularly.

Luckily it happened easily and he looked fully detached. He giggled as it went back into place. Everything seems normal. Given how much he stretches his penis and testicle skin around I am not surprised. He plays with them like silly putty.

Do you agree if he seems normal it is likely no damage was done?
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#18 of 20 Old 03-08-2014, 10:36 PM
 
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Yes I agree probably no damage done. I would however find some literature for your Dr. because he could really do a lot of damage to a boy who wasnt retractable like your ds.

 
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#19 of 20 Old 03-16-2014, 03:15 PM
 
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I thought retracting was normal too since that what our doc said to do to keep him clean. And I was horrified one visit when I asked her to check my son since he had some irritation. She pulled his foreskin back too hard and he cried so hard!

 

I came across this link (wish I had before). Helped me understand things a bit better. Basically says it shouldn't be retracted early on. For a few months I had been retracting to clean him at most diaper changes since that's what the doctor suggested. Now I'm wondering if I have done any harm to him or caused any discomfort, etc??

 

Hope this helps.

 

http://www.kidshealth.org.nz/foreskin-care

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#20 of 20 Old 03-17-2014, 03:46 AM
 
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I am a ped doc (but I work in germany, so most babies are intact here) - and I would never ever pull the foreskin back - only if the parents are worried about phimosis, and than really, really carefully. I practise (on and off due to my own kids) since 10 years, and I never ever had a baby cry when I examined his penis. 

 

And I would feel so awful if that ever happened. I think history taking is much more important! Moms usually know if there is any problem...


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