Caution: Avoid Pulling Down the Skin of Your Baby's Penis
Many doctors and health professionals choose to lower the skin of the baby’s penis as soon as possible. This action consists of pulling the skin until it gets maximum resistance.
This can cause a lot of pain, bleeding and forced friction. Some doctors however, still believe that this will prevent possible problems later on.
Some specialists consider that, although it’s a bit uncomfortable for the child, it prevents greater problems later on. For example, it will prevent possible surgery which would have to be undertaken if the skin doesn’t retract naturally.
They also believe that the process won’t affect the child’s development after it heals.
The topic of foreskin and possible phimosis can complicate a mother’s life in the first few days after her son’s birth.
For a long time, these problems weren’t solved until it was necessary, however recently new practices have been developed.
How does lowering the skin of the baby’s penis prematurely affect a child?
According to an article by pediatrician JM Garat, called “conservative management of foreskin”, everything depends on the evolution of each child.
According to his experience, only 4% of children should have the skin of their penis lowered. The others, however, should wait until the age of 5 years old (92%).
Between the age of 2 to 3, some pediatricians already get worried about the delay in retraction. This leads them to diagnose phimosis prematurely.
According to Garat’s research about 50 % of children can retract their foreskin at 12 months of age. At the age of 2, around 75% and at the age of 3, around 90%.
Therefore, we should understand that not all cases are the same. It is important to wait and see how they evolve.
For example, given that 4% of children can retract their foreskin from birth, there is no problem if a doctor compels them to.
However, taking into account that 90% of children should wait until they’re 5 years old, then it should be completely understood why it’s discouraged to force them prematurely.
Although both sides of the argument believe they’re right, spontaneous evolution seems to be the best option.
Be patient, keep the area clean and wait for the right time – this is the most convenient way for everyone.
Therefore, it is recommended that doctors and nurses don’t do anything to the baby’s penis.
The process of foreskin retraction
A study conducted on Japanese children in 1996, indicates that the body is prepared to undertake the process from the beginning.
At birth the skin of the penis begins to evolve in order to avoid possible phimosis.
However, a layer must remain in order to maintain protection of the gland and also prevent possible infections.
As we all know, contact with urine and feces can cause an infection of the gland if it’s left without its natural protection. That’s why there are fairly tight rings that are used to prevent the skin from being pulled down easily.
As a result, it can only be moved by a strong pull which can cause wounds and scarring. That’s why physiologically, the process of foreskin retractions only occurs when the child is ready.
According to the study we mentioned previously, 40% of children retain the ring at the age of one. It’s only as they grow that the ring begins to diminish.
There are also adhesions of skin to the glands. This can take time to disappear and shouldn’t be detached by force.
About 73% of children can still maintain certain adhesions between the age of 6 and 7. However, these cases aren’t considered to be phimosis. They will give way in their own time.
The best thing you can do is gradually lower the skin every time your child takes a bath. Do this gently without lowering it too much each time.
Depending on the child, they might have more or less adhesions that will hinder the process. The truth is that we can still wait for a long time without even considering surgery.