5 y.o. foreskin not retracting yet... questions - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 06-17-2010, 10:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,
I haven't been in this part of MDC since my before my son was born and I (we) decided not to have him circ'd.
But now he's 5 and today I had to take him to the Dr. because he told me it hurt when he peed. They did a urine test and it came back negative so they do not think he has a urinary tract infection. The Dr. suggested that he may have some irritation and to just give him warm baths and put some hydrocortisone cream on there for a day or two.
BUT he also suggested I take ds to see a urologist since his foreskin does not retract yet. He said that the opening may be too small and that he may need some surgical help. Not right away... but in the not too distant future. My boy does balloon sometimes when he pees... which just from a quick search on the internet seems to indicate a possible problem.

Crapola. I'm feeling pretty bad about this now. That I was so adamant about NOT having him circ'd and its potentially causing him problems now. I hate to see him in pain and I'll really hate if he has to have surgery. Can anyone give me any info on this?
Basically, what would you do? Is there any way to gently encourage the skin to retract or the hole to stretch or whatever the problem is??
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#2 of 28 Old 06-17-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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The Dr. is wrong it is perfectly normal for a 5yo not to retract. Avg age is 10.5y for it to happen. Many do not retract until they are in their late teens and some are adults before it does. Stretching and steroids are for adults or boys in puberty who are having issues with to tight a foreskin.The only problem your ds has is a Dr. who is not up to date on the intact penis.

It sounds like he is starting the separation process. This thread is helpful http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=764732

Ballooning also is part of the process of separation for many boys and is 100% normal and isnt a cause for any concern at all.

Links on ballooning
http://www.cirp.org/library/hygiene/
Quote:
The separation of the foreskin from the glans penis Ballooning of the prepuce while urinating cannot occur until separation is underway. The occurence of ballooning indicates that separation has started.15 Babu et al. have proven that ballooning does not interfere with urination.21 Ballooning is a normal developmental stage and is not a cause for concern and does not require treatment.16 20 A child temporarily may report some discomfort or pain while urinating during this period. This occurs because the ballooning may tear at any residual connection to the glans. The discomfort will stop when separation is complete. The foreskin may still not be retractable at this point because the opening is still narrow. With increased growth and maturity, the ballooning will end when opening of the foreskin widens.
http://www.norm-uk.org/circumcision_...reatments.html
Quote:
Ballooning of the Foreskin Ballooning of the foreskin while urinating can be a normal phase of development during childhood. It is not an indication for circumcision. Ballooning is a temporary phenomenon that arises when the foreskin begins to separate from the glans. It speeds the process of separation and disappears when the process is complete.
Age of retraction: http://www.cirp.org/library/complications/vanhowe/
10.5 age http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...kinleaflet.pdf

 
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#3 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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Ballooning is normal for many boys and it does not indicate a problem. Please don't have him circed for these issues.

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#4 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by artgirl View Post
Hi,
Crapola. I'm feeling pretty bad about this now. That I was so adamant about NOT having him circ'd and its potentially causing him problems now. I hate to see him in pain and I'll really hate if he has to have surgery. Can anyone give me any info on this?
Basically, what would you do? Is there any way to gently encourage the skin to retract or the hole to stretch or whatever the problem is??
Please don't feel bad! There is absolutely nothing wrong with your son's penis. There is no problem going on here!!! Your doc is wrong to make you feel that your son's penis has something wrong with it. He doesn't need steroids, surgery, referral, stretching, or any of it. His foreskin will become retractable in its own good time without any outside help. And it may take much longer than being 5 years old for this process to complete itself. Again: THIS IS NORMAL!

So take a deep breath and just sit back and relax! Once you read some of the above links, you'll be much more educated than the doctor that sent you into this craziness and stress. You may want to print out some links on normal foreskin development and take them to your son's doctor, so s/he won't give bad advice to other parents of intact boys.

http://www.cirp.org/library/normal/
http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcisi...kinleaflet.pdf
http://mothering.com/print/2353

There are a lot of other threads here from moms of intact boys who were unecessarily made to worry about this by ill-informed doctors, so read around on this board. The more you know, the more comfortable and confident you will be in having left your son intact, and the better able you will be to protect his right to stay that way and trust his body's natural developmental process.

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#5 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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This is silly, but would holding the tip help with the discomfort? I mean if the ballooning is pulling at the attached bits?

Sorry, I'm just reading here because my dd is insisting on being awake and that's just what occurred to me.
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#6 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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Give him baking soda baths and that will help with the pain and any irritation.
Not retracting at 5 is perfectly normal, it's a non-issue.
Well, basically to what everyone else has said.

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#7 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 03:10 PM
 
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My son was fully retractable by 3 which I thought was rather early. However, everything you are describing happening to your sons penis is exactly what happened to my son right before he started to retract. He had pain, ballooning, etc. It's the adhesions starting to come apart allowing for retraction. Sounds completely normal and like he is well on his way. (from start to finish it took my son about 9 months to fully retract)

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#8 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
This is silly, but would holding the tip help with the discomfort? I mean if the ballooning is pulling at the attached bits?

Sorry, I'm just reading here because my dd is insisting on being awake and that's just what occurred to me.
What could help with the burning is have him retract just enough that the urethral opening on the glans is visible that way the urine wont go back up under there and touch the raw spots which cause the burning.

With retraction the more he messes with it the more it will stretch but he should do this at his own pace because he could cause the foreskin to get stuck behind the glans if he forces it to early. That is called paraphimosis and needs emergency treatment and is mentioned in the first link in my pp.

 
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#9 of 28 Old 06-18-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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Crapola. I'm feeling pretty bad about this now. That I was so adamant about NOT having him circ'd and its potentially causing him problems now. I hate to see him in pain and I'll really hate if he has to have surgery. Can anyone give me any info on this?
Basically, what would you do? Is there any way to gently encourage the skin to retract or the hole to stretch or whatever the problem is??
Just a perspective check...He is in far LESS pain now than he would have been if you'd had him circumcised as a baby...He simply has words for expressing it. Also keep in mind that irritation and infection are VERY common among circ'ed babies and toddlers. I have known MANY MANY circ'ed babies with infections and worse. I have 3 sons and know other moms who have chosen to not circ, within that group my third son and one other baby have had 1 UTI each, and no other infections or complications.

It sounds to me, like the other posters have said, that your son is at the beginning of this process. Try to not fret about it, and take it a day at a time.

My youngest literally had a pinprick opening at birth, but it did not seem to bother him. At 2yo he developed a UTI and needed his first ever round of ABX, the opening in his foreskin still appeared to be a pin prick, and he ballooned notably while urinating. Ped said a visit to the urologist for possible circ may be in order if he continued to get infections.
He has not had any other infections in nearly a year now. Just a week or two ago he was on the toilet and noticed his foreskin dilate and open when he urinated...He was quite happy with this discovery, but frustrated when he could not make it open at will.

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#10 of 28 Old 06-21-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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My 5 1/2 year old balloons and does not retract. He finds great joy in this fact and likes to squeeze his balloon to make his urine shoot further (thank goodness he's an excellent shot!). Anyway, a little irritation probably just means separation. You did not cause him any harm by not circ'ing him. He'll get past this and grow up with a healthy and intact penis thanks to you!
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#11 of 28 Old 07-07-2010, 04:59 AM
 
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My son is turning 7 next month and just became retractable in the past month or so. I've always heard that the age range in which one becomes retractable is anywhere from around 3 years old to 18 years old or even later.

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#12 of 28 Old 07-07-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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My son's father didn't become retractable until he was 12 1/2 or it might have been 11 1/2 but it was after he was 10 yrs old is what I know of .
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#13 of 28 Old 07-07-2010, 02:56 PM
 
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The steroid cream is unnecessary and inappropriate. Don't use it.

I know it is hard to just say "oh well it's normal" when your DS is in pain, but think back to when you were a little girl. I remember lots of times when it hurt down there, and I know most little girls occasionally had the same issue. Our moms just felt it was normal and put us in a bath, which made it feel better. This just seems like more of an issue, b/c the part in question is less familiar.

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#14 of 28 Old 07-08-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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DS1 ballooned for several years and didn't retract till 10 or 11. All was very uneventful, one day he just old me.

DS2 retracted by the age of 5, not sure if he ballooned or not.

Go with your gut-if your son is not in pain, and is able to pee without issue, then there isn't a problem. Don't we usually only consider surgery for real problems? This is a doctor invented problem-"He hasn't retracted by XXX age, so he has a problem" I hate this mindset. He will bloom in his own time, everyone is different.

DS1 is now 15, plays sports, has been in plenty of locker rooms (where most guys cover up and don't look at each other). In November, he'll go to Japan where he will be taking baths in a public bath with Japanese people and the members of his jazz band. I'll let you know how it goes but I expect no issues.

DS2 is now 11 and is super immodest, I'm quite sure he would flaunt his thing if given the opportunity. I don't foresee any issues with him either.
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#15 of 28 Old 07-08-2010, 11:43 AM
 
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DS is 5.5 and not even starting to retract - no ballooning or anything. He had a smegma pearl at 1 1/2, which usually means part of the foreskin has separated from the glans, but it must have readhered. I'm not at all concerned. He's not having any pain or irritation and he pees just fine.

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#16 of 28 Old 07-09-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Whatever you do, do NOT take him to the urologist because he is not retracting. From what I've experienced and heard from people I know, urologists ALWAYS insist that a circumcision is necessary.

Best to you.

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#17 of 28 Old 07-09-2010, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone!!!!!
I am just reading all of these responses. I didn't know they were all here.
So for an update... I just gave my boy a couple of baths each day for two days. Had him kinda swish water toward his penis while he was sitting in there. The pain while urinating went away after about a day and a half.

And then the Dr.'s office called and wanted to call him in a Rx. They'd sent his urine sample to the lab and it showed bacteria. Well, the doc himself told me in the office that the sample looked pretty clean (had a few white blood cells) and that since it was impossible to get a clean catch from an uncirc'd boy if they sent it to the lab it would come back positive for a UTI. So what do they do?? Send it to the lab and try to prescribe antibiotics when it comes back abnormal. WTH?

I said that they could call it in but that I wasn't starting it until I felt there was a problem. DS was playing, acting totally normal, not complaining of pain any longer, had no fever, etc. They said they'd "ask the doctor if that was okay." Uh... you're not listening to me.

So about two weeks later I get a huge envelope in the mail that has all of this prep info for the appointment they SCHEDULED for my son at the urologist. Uh... no. I called and cancelled it.

It makes much more sense to me that he's beginning to retract... and that what he's going through is normal. Why do the peds not know this???

So ds has had no complaints now for quite some time. And I will not be worrying about when he retracts for quite some time as well.

Thank you! Thank you!
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#18 of 28 Old 07-10-2010, 01:12 AM
 
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Thank you everyone!!!!!
I am just reading all of these responses. I didn't know they were all here.
So for an update... I just gave my boy a couple of baths each day for two days. Had him kinda swish water toward his penis while he was sitting in there. The pain while urinating went away after about a day and a half.

And then the Dr.'s office called and wanted to call him in a Rx. They'd sent his urine sample to the lab and it showed bacteria. Well, the doc himself told me in the office that the sample looked pretty clean (had a few white blood cells) and that since it was impossible to get a clean catch from an uncirc'd boy if they sent it to the lab it would come back positive for a UTI. So what do they do?? Send it to the lab and try to prescribe antibiotics when it comes back abnormal. WTH?

I said that they could call it in but that I wasn't starting it until I felt there was a problem. DS was playing, acting totally normal, not complaining of pain any longer, had no fever, etc. They said they'd "ask the doctor if that was okay." Uh... you're not listening to me.

So about two weeks later I get a huge envelope in the mail that has all of this prep info for the appointment they SCHEDULED for my son at the urologist. Uh... no. I called and cancelled it.

It makes much more sense to me that he's beginning to retract... and that what he's going through is normal. Why do the peds not know this???

So ds has had no complaints now for quite some time. And I will not be worrying about when he retracts for quite some time as well.

Thank you! Thank you!
If there were white blood cells and the culture came back positive, he was probably running a very slight UTI. However it sounds like it cleared up all on its own. This happens all the time. Most of us women will try to treat a mild UTI with cranberry juice before we run off to the Dr for antibiotics.

Good for you for going with your gut and avoiding unnecessary medication and the unnecessary tests/procedures the urologist would most likely want to do.

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#19 of 28 Old 07-17-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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Ignorance about the normal development of the foreskin appears to be widespread amongst US medical people. This ignorance is a very important factor in maintaining circumcision. Another are unneeded retractions by medical people, which lead to problems which are used as an excuse for circumcision.
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#20 of 28 Old 07-18-2010, 05:39 PM
 
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My two year old balloons when he pees. It looks like he's completely detached. When you try to retract the forskin it is impossible even when he's completely flaccid you can't even see the urethral opening because his foreskin is so small and tight.
Will this resolve on it's own when he gets old and messes with it himself? He already plays with it a little bit.
The reason I'm concerned is that sometimes he acts like it hurts really bad. Like, when he pees. Not lately, but a while back he would start crying really loud when he was peeing. I didn't know what to do. Doc said his urine was too concentrated and that he needs to drink more water, but that's pretty much all he drinks.
So, I don't want to mess with him, because it's his body and his stuff... But, I do have a responsibility to make sure that he is healthy and free from problems and infections, how can I tell that there's an infection (if the crying starts up again) if you can't see it?
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#21 of 28 Old 07-19-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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My two year old balloons when he pees. It looks like he's completely detached. When you try to retract the forskin it is impossible even when he's completely flaccid you can't even see the urethral opening because his foreskin is so small and tight.
Will this resolve on it's own when he gets old and messes with it himself? He already plays with it a little bit.
The reason I'm concerned is that sometimes he acts like it hurts really bad. Like, when he pees. Not lately, but a while back he would start crying really loud when he was peeing. I didn't know what to do. Doc said his urine was too concentrated and that he needs to drink more water, but that's pretty much all he drinks.
So, I don't want to mess with him, because it's his body and his stuff... But, I do have a responsibility to make sure that he is healthy and free from problems and infections, how can I tell that there's an infection (if the crying starts up again) if you can't see it?
You'll get more replies if you start a whole new thread.
You probably shouldn't try and retract him - you might accidentally hurt him. The best thing is to only allow your son to retract his own foreskin, that way he will stop if it starts hurting.
It sounds like normal separation pain to me and separation is normal. Ballooning is also normal. As long as your son can void (pee) then he's okay. Please read this info about normal separation process and what to do for pain:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=764732?

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1050900

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#22 of 28 Old 07-20-2010, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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totally off-topic:
But OMG CatLvrMom... that picture of Jasper............
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#23 of 28 Old 07-23-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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My just turned 6 year old has been "ballooning" for years now. I never knew what it was all about but also never gave it much thought. He is still un-retractable and has never had any issues. I say just give him warms baths. My son went through a resent "itchy" period. But it was an itch he liked to scratch not one that bothered him...lol
I always thought the average age for retraction was in the tweens. I mean how many 5 year olds really need their penis's to be sexually usable. Just makes sense that it would start retracting closer to puberty. So hard to find an intelligent medical doctor. Just wait tell he starts talking about his penis all the time like it is the funniest thing in the world.

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#24 of 28 Old 07-23-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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totally off-topic:
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My 2yr old.
My two year old balloons when he pees. It looks like he's completely detached. When you try to retract the forskin it is impossible even when he's completely flaccid you can't even see the urethral opening because his foreskin is so small and tight.
Will this resolve on it's own when he gets old and messes with it himself? He already plays with it a little bit.
The reason I'm concerned is that sometimes he acts like it hurts really bad. Like, when he pees. Not lately, but a while back he would start crying really loud when he was peeing. I didn't know what to do. Doc said his urine was too concentrated and that he needs to drink more water, but that's pretty much all he drinks.
So, I don't want to mess with him, because it's his body and his stuff... But, I do have a responsibility to make sure that he is healthy and free from problems and infections, how can I tell that there's an infection (if the crying starts up again) if you can't see it?
You shouldnt try to retract him because you could hurt him. The tip of the foreskin is a sphincter much like the anus and only relaxes to let urine out it then tightens back down to keep stuff out. If he isnt retracting and you force it you can tear the foreskin letting in infection and even get the foreskin stuck behind the glans. As he ages it will loosen and by puberty when the hormones kick in he will probably be fully retractable.

There is no set age when retraction happens. The avg age was found to be 10.5 but anywhere from birth to adulthood is normal.

 
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#25 of 28 Old 07-24-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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My just turned 6 year old has been "ballooning" for years now. I never knew what it was all about but also never gave it much thought. He is still un-retractable and has never had any issues. I say just give him warms baths. My son went through a resent "itchy" period. But it was an itch he liked to scratch not one that bothered him...lol
I always thought the average age for retraction was in the tweens. I mean how many 5 year olds really need their penis's to be sexually usable. Just makes sense that it would start retracting closer to puberty. So hard to find an intelligent medical doctor. Just wait tell he starts talking about his penis all the time like it is the funniest thing in the world.
exactly, ive always thought this myself. Why don't doctors just sit and think critically for a minute. There is NO need for a child's foreskin to retract until he is an adult, and its really not even necessary for an adult's foreskin to retract. it just functions better that way. I have a very hard time believing that a foreskin that has NOT been forcibly retracted would just "seal" up on its own and prevent the passage of urine. I would bet money that if it does seal up, it would be from the damage caused by forcible retraction.
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#26 of 28 Old 08-01-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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My son is 7 years old and is nowhere near being retractable. He has been ballooning when he pees since he was around 2-3 years old. It's definitely not a temporary phase I guess! When he was around 2-3 he had a couple of days when he complained about it "hurting" when he peed, and shortly after was when he started ballooning. I'm guessing the pain was the separation, and because the tip of his foreskin is still very tight, it causes the ballooning. In any event, every time we take DS to the doctor for his annual physical, the pediatrician does a full exam. I remind him that DS is not retractable yet, and every time he tells me that he should be at this age. And every time he tells me that, I tell him to go buy the book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Circumcision". LOL
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#27 of 28 Old 08-01-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MomTo2Cuties View Post
And every time he tells me that, I tell him to go buy the book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Circumcision". LOL
Good for you !!!
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#28 of 28 Old 08-03-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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My oldest son will be 6 in November and does not appear to retract. That is normal.

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