Ds will be three in December. His foreskin does not retract at all - just a bit at the tip. This morning I noticed the very tip was red so I gently moved it back to check it. There was a white substance (like cottage cheese) on the glands. I think I read somewhere that this means the glands are seperating from the foreskin, but I'm not sure. Could someone offer me some reassurance? Thank you so much.
It's called smegma, and it's totally normal.
I agree it sounds normal, and my ds will be 4 next week and doesn't retract, any time until the late teens is very normal.
Thank you mamajulie and Mallory! I feel better already! I knew you guys would have the answer! Should I try to wipe it off?
I have two intact boys, one 5 1/2yo and one is 3 1/2yo. I have never wiped anything down there, I just let them soak in a tub of warm water. My boys' skin is very sensitive, so only when they are really dirty do they use soap. Encourage him to explore his 'nether regions' and that should be enough to clean out any dirt or excess smegma. It will retract on it's own, don't force the issue.
Just leave it. If you mess with the inside of the penis (which opening it up like that is), it will get red and irritated. In fact, removing the smegma will just make the body produce more as its a protective substance. It keeps the head of the penis (i.e. glans) from drying out, in addition to having anti-bacterial properties.
Gretchen- I think whatever washes with bathtime playing is just fine... (no bubble bath or soap though) If the redness persists it's posible that he has a yeast infection (has he had any antibiotics? or any changes in exposure to chemicals- laundry soap, chlorine pools, bubble bath... those could also throw off his normal body balances and cause some redness) that would be treated the regular way, diet, acidipholous, medicated ointment...
Just keep an eye on things.
One last thing- and please realise that I am the queen of bad spelling, so I am not being a perfectionist with you- I just wanted you to know in case you wind up writing about this somewhere else... the anatomy you refered to- glans... there is no D in it. When people call it glands... it sounds like a organ that makes juice (well, in a way it is!) but glans is for the anatomy at the front of the penis and has nothing to do with secretions or anything, it's just the knob thing.... also the word glans is a singular, which is something the my DH still gets confused about when he says something like, (now I can' think) "My glans are ..." and I say, *is* it IS... But now if you had two men and each had glans, I guess... what do you think? they would have glanses? OMG ... I am pretty happy that I don't have to configure that sentence ...ever.
I think the mark of a great mother is she worries about everything. Let me take a couple of things off of your worry list so you can get to the really important things.
Let's talk about the redness first. Redness at the tip seems to be very common in intact boys and almost always seems to go away in a day or so. It may be caused by a diaper rash type irritation, his "fiddling" with it, (it seems to be boys favorite diversion) or the normal separation process. If you are keeping his diaper changed quicdkly and there is no redness anywhere else, you can probably rule that out. Boys pull and twist at it in what appears to be almost brutal but they will not hurt themselves. It is really a very durable part. this pulling and twisting can make it a little irritated but this will go away in a day or so. Third, the pulling and twisting may be pulling at normal adhesions that do not release evenly and can be causing minor irritation. The release process seems to cause some itching inside the foreskin which is a place he can't reach to scratch. His pulling and the irritation may be the result of him trying to scratch an itch he can't get to. Just watch the redness and if it doesn't resolve on it's own in a couple of days, you may want to check with the pediatrician. If your son is showing signs of distress, I would also check with the ped. Otherwise, don't worry.
The white stuff you have seen is absolutely normal. It's called "smegma" which is a greek word for "soap" and that should be a hint for you because it's purpose is to clean. It's a combination of sebum, body oils and dead skin cells. The tissue that bonds the foreskin to the glans in an infant is called epithelium and while all other tissue in the body is constantly replacing itself, the epithelium does not replace it self as it breaks down. This is what makes the eventual separation of the foreskin and glans possible. This separation is already in it's begining stages for your son. The smegma does two things for your son. First of all, it helps keep anything from getting in and it also acts as a barrier between the separated portions of the glans and foreskin so that they don't grow back together and form permanent adhesions. Your son's body will produce varying amounts of this substance for the rest of his life. As the separation process continues, there will be small amounts that will come out the tip of the foreskin. Occasionally, there will be lumps of it that you will be able to see inside the foreskin. These lumps will move around inside the foreskin for several days and eventually be expelled. That is all perfectly normal and expected.
One other thing that you may or may not notice. It's called "ballooning." As your son's foreskin separates, the sphincter at the tip may remain tight for quite some time. When your son urinates, the foreskin may "puff out" or balloon. He may also spray urine instead of having a stream and he may have to sit to urinate for a while. Both of these are short lived and will correct themselves with in a few months.
Now that you know what not to worry about, go worry about something important, good mamma!
Thanks so much everyone! Lots of wonderful information here! I'm LOL at "Glands"! Thank you for the correction! The redness is gone today - I'll keep an eye on it.
Thank you again!
|Originally posted by Frankly Speaking
Let's talk about the redness first. Redness at the tip seems to be very common in intact boys and almost always seems to go away in a day or so. It may be caused by a diaper rash type irritation, his "fiddling" with it, (it seems to be boys favorite diversion) or the normal separation process. If you are keeping his diaper changed quicdkly and there is no redness anywhere else, you can probably rule that out. Boys pull and twist at it in what appears to be almost brutal but they will not hurt themselves. It is really a very durable part
My son is 4 and his little penis has been a tiny bit red on the end once or twice, I've never had to do anything to it, it goes away by itself.
Talk about PULLING and TWISTING....... DANG, that thing can stretch!!! (its no wonder they want to "fiddle" with it)