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My almost 4-yr-old son's foreskin appears fully retractable, but when I ask him to wash under it in the bath, he says it hurts. Does this mean a) it's NOT fully retracting yet? b) he's bothered by the soap & water or c) he is displaying a normal aversion to getting any part of his body truly clean? (I have to beg to wash his hair, etc.)

I have been letting it alone. I notice when he plays with it outside the tub that it appears to retract all the way. How will I know when he's ready to wash under there?

Thanks!
 

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I'd say that quite possibly his foreskin isn't 100% retractible yet (either it's not completely separated from the glans - there may be a few places where it's still attached, or the preputial opening has not loosened enough to comfortably stretch over the glans to retract). Or, his glans is rather sensitive to the feeling of water when he does retract and it "hurts".

Either way, there is no need for him to retract and wash under his foreskin on a regular basis yet...especially if it "hurts" him. Swishing around in the tub would be sufficient to keep him clean. When he is closer to puberty and hormones kick in, he will want to be sure to clean underneath on a regular basis, but for now, there's not much need for it (think of it kinda like armpits...).

As long as he knows that it can retract (not a surprise to him), and that you've planted the idea that it should be washed underneath periodically, he will eventually figure out to do so in the tub.

HTH!

Cindy

Lindsey (96/02/26)
Jason (00/06/08)
 

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Hi Deirdre! I wouldn't worry about it too much - probably the soap stings, just as it does if I get soap on my tender bits.
It is a mucus membrane after all. If he does retract to wash, I would use water only.
 

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I never told my son to pull it back to wash it. I told him to swish it. He figured out the rest. At that age we were still watching and helping out the bathing process. He would only peak it out until comfortable.

Now that he is older, 10.5. We (more so my dh) has been more specific. We had a hygene talk because he is starting to develop BO and needed a refresher course. We are at puberty's door.
 

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I asked my dh about this (he's intact). He said that a man really only needs to retract and wash once puberty has hit...unnecessary before that time (and just swishing around/normal playing in the bath tub [!] should keep everything clean enough before puberty).
 

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Any soap is going to be unnecessarily drying (hehe. I typed soup at first.
) I've never heard of a special soap for genitals, but I have heard that things like "No More Tears" baby shampoo don't sting because of a mild anaesthetic in them, not because there's nothing "stingy" in there. Not sure I'd want to try that stuff unless I knew for sure what was in it.
 
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