Mothering Forum banner
1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is such a wide range of excuses for manipulating the foreskin. "Just checking.", "Just looking.", "Just taking a little peek." Sometimes, in high circumcision areas I wonder if it's just a personal facination with something they have little experience and understanding about. Which of course is a big red flag.

Some doctors are fixated on the possibility of phimosis...a tight foreskin...which, in the U.S. is generally considered an indicator for circumcision. IMO, if they're checking to see if it's "too tight" or they're suggesting it needs to be "stretched" they are quite literally just looking for a reason to cut it off. Red flag. Red flag. Red flag.

Another common reason they try to snoop around in the foreskin is to visualize the meatus. Why in the heck would they think they need to do that? The most common reasons I hear of doctors giving for doing this is to look for hypospadious or meatal stenosis. Either of these reasons is another another red flag for ignorance, because severe hypospadious usually involves the foreskin, so the abnormality is obvious. Milder cases of hypospadious, where the 'pee hole' is off center may not be obvious but aren't something that needs intervention. Meatal stenosis is extremely common in young boys but virtually unheard of in intact children. Meatal stenosis is almost always caused by circumcision; it's circumcision's most common complication. LINK

Many informed, protective, otherwise assertive parents have trouble speaking up in the moment. I've been one of them. When we saw a new pediatrician at the practice we normally go to, I was on guard but I still felt intimidated. I know doctors are 'just people', one of my dearest friends from high school is now a doctor. They're generally intelligent and they have a lot of training but nobody can be an expert in every subject. We can't assume that the doctor our son sees will be 'different' from those horror stories we so often read about on this board; doctors aren't gods, and they shouldn't be treated like them.

My son was under a year old and he was there for fussiness/sleep problems with a slight fever, but he didn't have any cold symptoms and I thought it might be an ear infection. It surprised me that the doctor opened his diaper, but his hand immediately went to palpate his lower abdomen. Seemed reasonable enough. Then, quick as lightening he grabbed my son's penis and partially retracted him so I saw, for a brief instant, at least half of his glans. It happened SO fast. The words flew out of my mouth, "Don't retract. Don't retract!" and he said, "Oh, I'm not. Just looking." Now, my son didn't cry out and he didn't seem to have any swelling or irritation after the incident but it still left me shaken and disappointed in myself for not being more proactive. I knew better. Why didn't I act? Why did I give that old, gray-haired pediatrician who I didn't know the benefit of the doubt? Clearly, he wasn't deserving.

I think part of the issue is that we don't expect any person with basic knowledge of universal precautions to touch our children-let alone, do something we regard as a procedure-in an area regularly soiled by urine and feces and so close to one of the body's natural openings WITHOUT GLOVES. Doctors don't generally wear gloves for feeling a child's belly or limphnodes. But if they were going to touch inside their mouth or examine they eyes, they presumably would. We also don't expect (and, rightly so)an invasive examination of the genitals when we're there for a well-baby check, cold symptoms, or a suspected ear infection. We don't want to act too obsessive about keeping them from examining our child down there that they start to wonder if we have something to hide. Of course, we also don't want to imply to our care providers that we're not confident they know what the heck they're doing because we don't want to offend them.

Just keeping an Intact Care Agreement on file will not necessarily protect our children because doctors have lots of patients and they may not remember, they may not review your child's chart, and because-especially when our children are ill-they may see a different doctor than they normally do. Is there a phrase starting with something like, "I do not consent to..." that would be appropriate/feasible to say to the physician *every* time you go in?

How do other parents handle this situation?

How do we protect our kids?

What do you think?

Jen
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,473 Posts
This is such a frustrating problem. Since I am not circumcising my son I know that I will have to be an advocate for the non-retraction of his foreskin for the rest of his childhood
:. I plan on stating "Please don't retract his foreskin" at EVERY doctor visit and to every care taker. It seems as though some doctors do it on purpose like, "I know what I'm doing". There's no reason to handle it at all unless the parent comes in specifically complaining of a problem in that area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
IMO unless a parent has mentioned a problem with the boy's (or girl's) genitals and gives permission, a doctor has no business touching them.

Doctors can be wonderful servants, but as masters they can be terrible.

I can going to be the devil's advocate here. IMO, in the case of doctors who believe in circumcision (i.e. the bottom line is that they hate the normal penis) who engage in retraction and end up damaging or infecting the penis (or tell parents to retract), its an unconscious act of revenge. "That'll teach you for not having him circumcised."

If they have a belief that a normal penis has more infections or "he might need a circumcision later" it might become a self fulfilling prophecy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
972 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by serendipity22 View Post
I can going to be the devil's advocate here. IMO, in the case of doctors who believe in circumcision (i.e. the bottom line is that they hate the normal penis) who engage in retraction and end up damaging or infecting the penis (or tell parents to retract), its an unconscious act of revenge. "That'll teach you for not having him circumcised."

If they have a belief that a normal penis has more infections or "he might need a circumcision later" it might become a self fulfilling prophecy.
I agree. Someone in another thread recently pointed out how circumcision is ritual banding (wasn't that the phrase?). I have to think that retraction is a similar thing -- punishment for child and parents who haven't followed the cultural "norm", and a way to rope the rebels back in. If it causes lasting damage, it is almost a ritual band itself.

I have serious anxiety about this issue, not just with health care providers but with anyone who might be in the position to change my son's diaper. I know exactly what you're talking about, this difficulty speaking up. We go to a naturopath, but I loathe to think about the cat that will try to have my tongue if I ever end up with my son in the ER or something. I was raised to be polite, gracious, and cooperative, and I find it's the easiest way to deal with life outside my personal realm. It's hard to find one's self as a mother bear in polite society.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top