Pediatrician partially retracted my 2 year old! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 02-09-2004, 01:36 PM
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I feel pretty shaken right now, because I looked for an intact supportive and breastfeeding friendly doctor before ds was born. She's never tried to retract his penis before but today at his 2 year check up, she did. I said "What are you doing? Stop that! I don't want you to touch his penis". She said "It's OK, I'm not forcing it. Most boys are retractable by 4, and soon he should start playing with it in the bath tub". I said most boys may be retractable by 5 or 6, but many are not until puberty and some even beyond, and it doesn't matter! There is no need to check! I finished with "No one should retract his penis but him".

He's OK, his foreskin has partially loosened (he plays with it on his own), and she didn't cause him pain or bleeding or anything. I was just shocked that she did this when it's not necessary.

I will be sure to say "Don't retract his penis" right up front next time. I don't even have anyone to talk to about this because it seems that most males around here are circed! So, I'm glad this board is here. Most information I have about the intact penis has come from this site!
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#2 of 4 Old 02-09-2004, 04:35 PM
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Three cheers for you Pam! First for knowing that your son should never be retracted and second for having that lioness protective instinct. It's mothers like you that will educate the medical profession.

I don't know why these doctors insist on "looking." There is nothing in there for them to see or nothing for them to need to see. Any problem inside the foreskin will manifest itself on the outside in a matter of hours so if there is nothing apparent from the outside, it can be safely assumed that there is nothing wrong on the inside. The only thing I can imagine is that they are not familiar with intact penises and they are just curious. Maybe one day curiosity will get the cat and some protective mom will slug one of them.

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#3 of 4 Old 02-09-2004, 05:45 PM
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Pam, I don't think that the Dr. meant any harm... and probably does qualify as "intact friendly" if you were to follow a curve...

But you know what- I think there is a basic rift that is happening philosophicly and you might do her a big favor if you were able to really spell it out.

Now, I understand that you may not feel the same was as I do about this... but I think that what body is inside the foreskin is as private a place as what body is inside a girl's vagina. And unless there is a really good reason- a Dr is not going to look inside a girl's vagina to "check" for anything... they would be afraid that they would look like a pervert. They understand the violation of extremely private place that it would be- to even look.

Well, the Dr is probably totally used to seeing the exposed glans, and does not consider it to be an expecially private part of a person's anatomy so they have forgotten that in a noncircumcised world- the glans is a body part reserved for only the most intimate situations. It's just none of their business unless the patient has come in with a sepcific complaint.

It's not that you might both have differing ideas about when retraction would be possible... it's that you have differing ideas on the LIMITS of physical probing that a physician may assume a patient will/should submit to in a regular checkup. Your physician may need to be educated that just because some children's parents have decided to surgicly STRIP the privacy afforded by their external genital anatomy from their children ... does not mean that such a privacy does not exist... or that you did not intend for your son to have his.

Love Sarah
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#4 of 4 Old 02-09-2004, 11:25 PM
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Frank, thank you for the support. It's nice to have people understand how I feel. My husband's reaction was "You probably upset the doctor".

Sarah, thank you for the perspective. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I think you are right. I knew she didn't hurt him, but I was shocked as I would have been if she had looked at my daughter's vagina without a medical reason. I will share my feelings on this with her, and maybe I can influence her to change her perspective a little. I related the conversation because I think she was giving the medical reason of seeing how retractable he was. Not a valid medical reason in my book, because it doesn't matter.

Circ rates around here are still high! The birth center (all midwives) still has a circ rate of around 50% and the hospital is more like 90 - 95%. This doctor is on the board at the birth center but she still sees many more boys who are circed as opposed to intact. It makes me so sad.
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