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Cleaning Your Young Son's Natural (Uncircumcised) Penis

Topic Overview

It's important to keep your son's penis clean whether he has been circumcised or not. Keeping your young son's penis clean may help prevent infections and other problems. As your son gets older, teach him how to wash and care for his penis.

Cleaning a natural penis

Do not force the foreskin back over the tip of the penis. At first, a baby's foreskin can't be pulled back (retracted) over the head of the penis. After the first few years of life (though it may take somewhat longer), the foreskin will gradually retract more easily. By the time a boy is 5 years old, his foreskin is usually fully retractable. Up to this time, wash the outside of the penis with warm water. Pushing your son's foreskin back too early can damage it and cause scar tissue to form.

When the foreskin is easy to retract, clean under it daily. To clean under the foreskin, gently push it as far as possible toward the body. Carefully wash the entire area with warm water. Then replace the foreskin over the head of the penis.

A boy as young as 3 can be taught to clean under his foreskin as a normal part of his hygiene. When a boy reaches puberty, he needs to clean under his foreskin every day.

If your son's foreskin does not fully retract by the time he reaches puberty, call your doctor for advice.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Elder JS (2011). Anomalies of the penis and urethra. In RM Kliegman et al., eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th ed., pp. 1852-1858. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018


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