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Old 05-05-2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!



I have been concerned about my 6 year old sons foreskin for quite a while now; it seems to be extremely tight and does not even partially retract when I try to gently pull it back.

I had spoken with my Dr. a few times in the past regarding my concerns; when my son was 4 and 5 years old. I was always told that it takes time and eventually it will stretch and retract.

He is now over 6 years old and still no luck. He's even had one infection that needed to be treated with antibiotic cream...luckily it cleared up quickly.

The other boys we know, even some who are much younger, are able to retract their foreskin easily to clean underneath. When I try to help my son pull his back, the hole in the end is very small, the skin is tight, and you can not see the glans at all. I noticed that when he urinates, his foreskin "blows up" like a balloon and then the urine comes out in a thin stream.

My Dr. recently referred us to see a Urologist, but we are still waiting for an appointment. I fear that they will recommend that I have him circumcised, but I fear even more that they will try some different procedures first, which will traumatize my son, to say the least. In my mind, it's all or nothing; either leave the foreskin or remove it completely. I have heard from many people, including my Dr., that they will try different incisions to loosen the skin etc. but I DO NOT want the any additional trauma for my boy.

Any advice that anybody can offer regarding the foreskin problem (does it take longer sometimes?), the circumcision procedure for older children, or how to help your child cope with this experience, would be much appreciated.

 
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:57 PM   #2
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

My nephew had to have a circumcision for similar reasons when he was 3. My sister was helping him clean it and when she pulled the skin back to clean it it actually got stuck and swelled and it was not pretty. It freaked her out (as you can imagine) so she insisted on getting it done with no other procedures.

I wish I could remember anything with the recovery, but it was nearly 10 years ago now. I do think though that you should just get it done and save him any future problems. I mean, he's already had an infection and you've been refered to a urologist because of it. It seems to be the least traumatic thing you could do is just go for the circumcision and let him heal so he won't have to deal with anything else like this.

 
Old 05-05-2008, 04:25 PM   #3
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Thanks for the reply, and I totally agree. I was absolutely mortified at the thought of them trying multiple procedures and incisions before deciding to do a circumcision...I think it will be hard enough on him to have to deal with the healing, plus trying to accept that your penis looks totally different.

The last thing I want is for him to have to go through more pain, trauma and hard feelings than he is already facing.

Thanks again,

 
Old 05-06-2008, 07:47 AM   #4
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Hi all! I have been lurking for ages but decided to sign up. From what I know, is that under now circumstances you should ever try and force the foreskin back (not even gently) what I was told by the doctor is that it is sort of attached to the tip, and will seperate naturally in time, can be anything form 3 to even 7 or 8 or even a bit older.

My son 'discovered' it himself at 5, he cant retract it all the way but i tell him to just gently 'practise' every day when he goes to the toilet, and to stop if it hurts or is uncomftable. It still cant retract all the way, but with gentle practise it should eventually get better. Check the mens boards on the condition of a tight foreskin, theres a name for it that i cant remember, but i do know is that it can be stretced in time.

If you try to pull a boy's fioreskin back while it is still attached, it can damage it and he might then end up needing to be circumsised anyway.

My advice would be to go see the uroligist, make sure its ok, to put your mind at ease.

 
Old 05-06-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

It is normal for a boy's foreskin to retract anytime between birth and puberty, or even later.
There is no need for a circumcision, under any circumstances, except for frostbite, or if the opening in the foreskin is so small that it prevents urine from passing.
There is a good deal more information in the Men's Health forum, in a sticky at the top, called stretching to fix a tight foreskin, or something close to that. It is well worth a read. Ballooning, or having the foreskin fill with urine, is normal for a boy who doesn't retract yet. I see no sign of a problem at this time.
The Oster study in Denmark will back me up on that.

If this ever becomes a problem, and that is a big if, the steps are:
him gently stretching his foreskin with his fingers
if that fails, stretching combined with a prescription of betamethasone cream applied to the outside of the foreskin.
if that fails, which is close to never, you should consider a dorsal slit operation, which cuts the tight part, but does not remove anything.
if that fails, you should consider a circumcision.

Doctors like to operate. It's part of what they do. You should keep this in mind, and arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can, before you see the urologist.
The reason I mention this, is because I had my three year old circumcised, on the advice of three doctors, because he was unable to retract his foreskin at age three. It wasn't until years later, that I realized this was normal, and that the doctors were ignorant of basic human anatomy. Be conservative. Nature put the foreskin there for a reason, and two out of the three main erogenous zones on the penis are part of the foreskin.

Best of luck with your little man.

Last edited by tommy124; 05-06-2008 at 09:14 AM. Reason: more complete information

 
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Thanks for all your helpful advice. I just want to do what's best and what is least traumatic for my son.

I wasn't aware that I'm not supposed to post the same question in more than one board, so Keil, if you're out there, to answer your question regarding whether or not there is a man in his life who can help him out, unfortunately, all the men in our lives are circumcised and don't really know much about it either.

I wanted to have my son circumcised, but his father talked me out of it even though he is. I know now that he just didn't want to pay for it, which is pretty selfish. I also dealt with a nurse at the hospital who was quick to push her personal opinion on me, and made me feel like a horrible mother for even considering it. I respect people's beliefs and choices; I only wish that I was given the same respect about mine.

Our visit to the Urologist is set for this coming Monday. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks again, feeling a bit better...

Last edited by ericanicole25; 05-07-2008 at 03:36 PM. Reason: To remove the word witch, which, for some reason, was replaced with 5 stars...didn't want people to think it was a swear word

 
Old 05-07-2008, 09:56 AM   #7
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericanicole25 View Post
I respect people's beliefs and choices; I only wish that I was given the same respect about mine.
Hopefully your son will not be saying that to you later

As far as I know, a 6 year old does not have to be able to fully retract his foreskin. As for ballooning, since this is often a technique used to wash the inside of the foreskin, and is also normal at that age, I'm not sure I see the problem. What is happening now is probably just the separation of the foreskin from the glans. As long as it is retractible by the time he hits puberty, he should be fine. If it's still not at that point, then I would take action. When he is older and starts to play with it more, he will be more than willing to stretch it. Hopefully the Urologist will tell you it's still normal, to just give it time, and encourage your son to pull on the end to stretch it outward (not necessarily back).

Good luck.

 
Old 05-12-2008, 10:25 PM   #8
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Well...

We saw the Urologist today and it only took a few minutes for him to see that the circumcision is necessary. My son has extremely tight foreskin, and the opening is more on the underside of his penis than on the end and is much too small (hypospadias). Even if it does stretch as he gets older he's at risk of it getting stuck behind the head of his penis if he does eventually retract it.

I feel so bad for the little guy, but I had a feeling something wasn't right for quite a while. The urologist assured me that this sort of thing is a special case; in most other cases they would try a different procedure first, but with this tight a foreskin it's best to remove the whole thing.

He's booked in for day surgery in July. He seems okay with it; but I guess we'll see soon enough.

To those who replied, thanks for all your advice & thoughts.

Last edited by ericanicole25; 08-20-2008 at 09:54 AM. Reason: To add medical term hypospadias

 
Old 05-16-2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

I understand that your son's foreskin's opening is much too small.
Foreskins are very stretchable. What is much too small now, might be just fine in a couple of years, or at puberty.
There is a sticky at the top of the Men's Health forum, called stretching a tight foreskin.
No matter how tight his foreskin is now, he will be able to stretch it however he wants to.
If skin didn't stretch, people would burst when they put on weight.
The medical community is very quick to recommend circumcision. Surgeons are mostly men, and men often just want to "fix" things.
I really feel it would be best for all involved if you got a second opinion from a foreskin-friendly doctor. The typical circumcision removes half the skin from a penis.
It is not reversible. As I said, we had three opinions, they all recommended circumcision, and it wasn't until years after we had it done, that we found out it was normal not to be able to retract at three.
Good luck with your boy, whatever you choose.

 
Old 06-13-2008, 03:15 PM   #10
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Hi ericanicole25,
I'm in the same boat as you and coincidently my 6 yr old son's surgery is in the beginning of July too. I went through exactly what you went through and are going through now. I don't really want to go through with the circumcision but it's better to get it over with now than to wait until he's 12. I was just wondering what and how did you tell your son? I haven't really told him about the surgery yet b/c I know it'll scare him. He can't even stand needles and I'm weak at the sight of him being hurt even the slightest bit. So I think this is going to be a tough one but I wish you the best of luck with your child. =)

 
Old 06-13-2008, 03:30 PM   #11
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Wow, what a coincidence!

Honestly, I felt like the less detail I get in to with him, the better. During the appointment when the Dr. decided the circumcision was necessary, he described the procedure in detail. My son proceeded to goof off and not listen to what the Dr. was saying, so when we left I told him "You should have listened...now you have no idea what's going to happen!" Then, I thought about it and realized it's probably better that way because if he heard what the Dr. described, he'd be totally scared.

I explained to him that he is having an operation at the hospital. I told him that a Dr. would give him special medicine to make him go to sleep and to make him not feel anything, and while he was sleeping they would remove the extra skin on his penis. I told him that when he wakes up, his penis will have an owie on it and it will be sore for a while, but that I can give him medicine to make it feel better. I also made sure that he is aware that his penis will look totally different afterwards, because I felt this is the part that would be most traumatizing.

He's actually doing pretty okay with the whole idea. He doesn't seem to be afraid, and he even said once that he is excited that his penis will look like his Papa's and his cousin's now. I think that by acting like it's no big deal (no matter how freaked you are inside, I know I am terrified) it really helps them to feel more calm.

I am a bit worried about how he'll react to the "tests" they need to get done at the hospital a few days before the surgery. My boy is also scared of needles and if they need to do blood work first I'm afraid that will stir up some fear and emotion about the surgery.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly. Best of luck to you and your little man!

 
Old 06-13-2008, 07:11 PM   #12
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy124 View Post
I really feel it would be best for all involved if you got a second opinion from a foreskin-friendly doctor.
Hey tommy124,

I just wanted to let you know that I did take my son for a second opinion, although, I wasn't quite sure how to ask him if he was a "foreskin-friendly" doctor.

He took a look and gave me the same answer; apparently, the opening of my son's foreskin is more on the underside of the penis than on the end (hypospadias), and is somewhat folded or overlapping, creating the extremely small opening. He said that I could try stretching it, but doubted I would have any success. In his opinion the circumcision was the best choice.

We are going ahead with the surgery as planned, but I wanted to thank you for your advice on getting a second opinion.

Last edited by ericanicole25; 08-20-2008 at 09:55 AM. Reason: To add medical term hypospadias

 
Old 07-13-2008, 08:31 PM   #13
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

thanks for opening this thread...
i'm going through the same issue with my 5 and a half year old.
but i am very nervous about the pain or trauma he may have with circumcision.
please let me know how the surgery went and how your son dealt with it and feels about it now...
we have the urologist app't on tuesday, and the doctor is jewish.
but i really do want to wait it out and hope it retracts on it's own...
my younger son is 4 and he retracted since last year - he plays with it everyday! and is often "big"...
what concerns me is that when my older son gets "big", it hurts him!
as long as this isn't posing any health issues, i'd prefer to wait it out.

 
Old 07-14-2008, 12:18 PM   #14
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

Hi there!

The surgery ended up being moved up to June 30th, so my son underwent the circumcision 2 weeks ago today.

What an experience! My son was so brave, but it was obvious that he was nervous. In total, the surgery took less than an hour. He was totally freaked out when he came out of the anaesthetic, but it is a wierd experience so that was to be expected. When they brought me in, I had a look at his penis and noticed that it was a bit swollen, and had stitches that were covered in gauze. I thought to myself "that doesn't look so bad". Well, over the next few hours it swelled and swelled and swelled. By the time I got him home I looked again and it had swollen to like 3 times the size! It was so big and red and there was a huge, swollen lump on the underside that resembled a blood blister. There wasn't much blood, but quite a bit of fluid kind of seeping from the stitches. All of this is completely normal and to be expected. At the hospital they gave him some morphine before we left for home and a prescription for Tylenol w/ Codeine for at home. On day two, I had to remove the gauze, which had dried on to the stitches. I put him in the shower and let some warm water run down his chest on to his penis to soften the gauze, but this was definitely the worst part for him. For the first few days at home, I let him wear one of his Papa's t-shirts with no pants or underwear so he could just lay around free and comfortable. After that, we moved on to baggy sweats or shorts with no underwear. He very rarely complained of any pain (what a trooper!) but every so often I'd hear him let out a whine and I guess it's when his penis would rub against his pants. During the first week he was not allowed to have tub baths. He had a shower every second day and I tried not to get it too wet because of the dissolving stitches. After about 4 days I noticed that the swelling had gone down quite a bit, and the dark purple colour on the underside was fading too. After 1 week, the stitches had started to dissolve and he no longer needed any pain medication, but it still looked quite swollen on the underside. He went for a follow up visit at the Urologist's office after 9 days. At that point he said that everything looked great, it was healing nicely and he now wanted him to have a tub bath daily to help bring down the rest of the swelling and to soften any stitches and scabs he still had.

Two weeks later, he's a happy, healthy boy and is even excited about how his penis looks now. It amazes me how resiliant kids are; during the whole thing he barely complained and was making the best of the circumstances. He still has one large scab on the underside, and a small lump of swelling too. You can still see where the stitches were, but that will fade with time. He is also finding that the newly exposed glans is quite sensitive, especially when he first gets in to a warm bath. This too will change with time.

Before the circumcision, my son was also complaining of pain when he would get "big" or when he would try to retract his foreskin, which is why I took him to the Urologist. I'm happy we went through with the circumcision now rather than later. Apparently, the bigger the penis, the more complicated the procedure.

One thing I must stress about this procedure is that it looks way worse than it is. I was terrified because it looked so swollen and sore, but my son kept assuring me that it "doesn't hurt as bad as it looks".

Good luck with your little boy. I hope things work out the way you'd like them to.

 
Old 07-16-2008, 01:00 PM   #15
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Re: My 6 year old may now require circumcision! Help!

floncita,
if you are looking for a doctor who will not insist that surgery is necessary, it might be wise get an impartial opinion. someone whose belief system includes surgery may or may not be impartial. their neutrality is for you to decide. another way is to ask the doctor if he or she is foreskin-friendly. there are many doctors, regardless of their background, who are foreskin-friendly.
you might want to search on the Oster study in Denmark. it can give you a clearer picture of when boys are expected to be able to retract.
another very good site to check out is the sticky at the top of the Men's Health forum in Healthboards, entitled Stretching to Fix Tight Foreskin (Phimosis).
there are many alternatives available to you, which are good to consider. whichever way you decide, you will probably want to find the one which is the most gentle and effective.

Last edited by tommy124; 07-16-2008 at 01:07 PM.

 
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