Apparently smegma is bad, both in girls AND boys? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 11-15-2010, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend has both a boy and a girl. Her younger son is circumcised, though I have never brought up the subject so I don't know why at all. I am currently pregnant and it will be a surprise baby. She mentioned that if it's a girl, I'll definitely want to use soap to get off the "smegma" because girls have a lot of it on their vaginas after they're born. I just kind of nodded and smiled. I didn't say anything, didn't even bother to point out that smegma is normal vaginal discharge, and is the same stuff we have in our underwear every day. Not to mention the fact that it's good and you just don't need to use soap on baby privates, boy or girl. 

 

So, I was just thinking...perhaps her association with smegma being bad stems from the myth that smegma in intact boys is gross and bad. Has anyone else heard anything similar before?


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#2 of 10 Old 11-15-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Congratulations on your pregnancy smeep :)

 

I've never heard of vaginal discharge in an infant coined the term "smegma" before. I have 2 daughters (3 sons). dd #1 had all kinds of weird slimy discharge come from her vagina when she was a newborn. She even had a tiny period for a day. This is a very normal reaction to the mother's hormones. My second daughter had nothing. Not a single discharge. It actually worried me for a bit. Oh well. We're all different I guess. My intact sons never had any separation issues or the normal smegma pearls that sometimes occur during the separation process. But my friend's intact sons (both her boys) did.

 

I do remember my own separation of the prepuce from the clitoris. The smegma alarmed me. I had no idea what that was at first.

 

The word "smegma" is the Greek word for soap right? The body's natural cleanser? So really all is needed to wash it away is water.


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#3 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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My daughter had a substance at birth that could only be called smegma because of it's location- but it's consistency was much more tough and waxy and seemed not so much as a discharge- but more like a protective coating like vernix.  The our sweet gentle ped. who examined her, actually made a point of telling me to leave it there- it would have taken quite some effort to get that stuff to release and would have probably hurt her in the process and irritated her skin. Within a week or two it was all gone and now she just has normal little smegma which just rinses away with water in the bath.  I can't imagine using soap of the genitals of a baby! 

 

But yes, some people are really dense about that stuff and act like anything from our body-  it's poison. 

 

It's a wonder they don't walk around with a cup all day so they don't have to swallow their own spit.

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#4 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 08:30 AM
 
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Plain and Tall, I am sure what you are describing is vernix.  It covers babies in utero and as they near birth, diminishes.  It is usually present in any fold like along the neck and chin and genitals.  One of my girls was born 20 days early (perfectly fine) and had quite a bit of vernix in every skin fold.  it's magic stuff.  it just disappeared into her skin.  It a protective coating and should not be removed.  Just allow it do disappear on it's own.


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#5 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 09:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppyFluffer View Post

Plain and Tall, I am sure what you are describing is vernix.  It covers babies in utero and as they near birth, diminishes.  It is usually present in any fold like along the neck and chin and genitals.  One of my girls was born 20 days early (perfectly fine) and had quite a bit of vernix in every skin fold.  it's magic stuff.  it just disappeared into her skin.  It a protective coating and should not be removed.  Just allow it do disappear on it's own.



I agree that it sounds like vernix.  Early babies might have lots of it, and later babies might only have it in the folds of fat/skin.  It is a wonderful substance that does not need to be scrubbed off!

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#6 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smeep View Post

Not to mention the fact that it's good and you just don't need to use soap on baby privates, boy or girl. 

 

 



My mother instructed me to wash inside my labia with soap when I was very young.  It wasn't until a few years ago that I found that isn't necessary.  So yeah, I can see how a mother could have "inherited" such a belief.

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#7 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 08:52 PM
 
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I had a friend who had used soap on her genitals every time she showered for as long as she could remember. She'd also had chronic yeast infections for as long as she could remember. When she told me about it, she said, "I don't know why I get them, I wash really well with soap and everything!" I told her that the soap was probably contributing to the yeast infections. She got confused and said, "Wait, but don't you use soap?" She honestly thought that it was the normal way to wash, to lather it up with soap. I told her just to rinse it with clean water and see what happened. Last I heard, she was having the yeast infections a lot less often. That was the only change she made.

 

Smegma is your friend. It keeps things clean and the pH balance good.


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#8 of 10 Old 11-16-2010, 10:57 PM
 
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I've never used soap on my genitals.  I was never told what to do and soap hurts so I only ever washed with water. I've never had a yeast infection.  I did have lots of UTI's after getting married, until I read on here a few years back that it was a good idea to pee after sex.  Not a single UTI since.  I wish that these subjects were not so taboo.  I just never had these kind of discussions with my Mom or friends.  


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#9 of 10 Old 11-20-2010, 12:38 AM
 
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Genital smegma is the natural breakdown of the epithelial layer of cells between the foreskin and glans. It's principally transudated moisture and sloughed cellular material, rich in natural emollients and lysozymes (among other things). As such, the substance has natural anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. And healthy smegma is not malodorous; it has a faintly sweet scent and is rich in pheromones, particularly after puberty.

 

Where some people get confused is about further hygiene. Yes, the smegma base can become contaminated with residual urine and semen after puberty, when the preputial space has fully differentiated. Odor comes from decaying bacteria, not healthy, thriving bacteria. This mix in adult males needs to be cleaned with clean, warm water every day or so. If a cleanser is used on the area, it should be a non-detergent, pH-balanced soap product (I personally prefer a couple of types, including Natural Beauty bar from Nature's Plus) that will not irritate or unduly dry out the mucosal tissue. It also allows the natural flora to return more effectively.

 

Whenever someone brings up the smegma argument with me, I immediately ask whether they're talking about benign, developmental smegma before puberty or adult smegma. They're really two different things, and both inherently beneficial. It's just that as our body develops and changes, so too do hygiene considerations, and we should not mix up the applicable issues. It's also important to clear up any confusion that smegma is a "secretion" from oil glands. There are no such glands under the foreskin or around the glans. Smegma is just natural sloughing that is retained in some areas (like under the penile or clitoral foreskin or in labial folds) or is rubbed off in other areas (circumcised men product just about as much smegma daily, but it rubs off onto their underwear).

 

 

 

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#10 of 10 Old 01-28-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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That is hands down the best smegma post ever. (We really need to coin a new name for the stuff.)

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