How to Care for Your Intact Son

Caring for your intact son is easy. Using this basic information, parents can be assured their newborn boy will be healthy, safe, and happy.

Bathing & Hygiene

Bathe your son in warm, clear water (soaps and bubble baths can cause skin irritation). When your son's foreskin becomes retractable, explain to him that, when he’s bathing, he can gently pull his foreskin back, rinse his glans and inner foreskin with his fingertips, and return it to its forward position. This is the time to talk to him about good common-sense hygiene, just as you would with your daughter.

Normal Growth

Before birth, the foreskin and glans (head of the penis) develop as a single structure. After birth, the foreskin slowly begins to detach from the glans, a process that may last until the end of puberty. As the inner layer dissolves, skin cells are discharged by the body, and any white substance can simply be wiped away. The average age of foreskin retractability is 10 years; about two percent of males have a foreskin that never retracts – this is normal, too.

Foreskin Retraction

Forced foreskin retraction by an uninformed adult is the most common genital health risk that young boys face. It causes severe pain, trauma, bleeding, and scarring, and might lead to infection and adhesions. The foreskin should only be retracted by your son himself, and only when he is ready to do so.

Not all healthcare professionals have been informed that they should not forcibly retract the foreskin during routine medical examinations. If your doctor or anybody else tries to retract your son's foreskin, tell him to stop, and encourage him to educate himself about the risks of premature retraction. Discuss these risks with your pediatrician, as well.

Diaper Changing

You don't need to do anything special to change the diaper of your intact son. Just clean the areas that can be seen – and remember, never retract your son's foreskin.

Health Hints

Soreness and Infection

Should the foreskin become red and itchy – a common sign of yeast overgrowth – it can be easily treated by first eliminating those things that destroy bacterial balance (bubble baths, soap or shampoo in the bathwater, highly chlorinated swimming pools and hot tubs). Liquid Acidophilus culture (available in health food stores), applied directly onto the foreskin six times daily for three days, will help the tissue to regain its normal balance and heal quickly.

If your son is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, use prescribed antibiotics. Give your son liquid Acidophilus culture (either straight or in juice), while he's on the antibiotics. Wait two hours after he's taken the antibiotic and give him the Acidophilus a couple of times before his next antibiotic dose. Continue to do this for several days after the antibiotics are finished, giving your son's body a boost back to bacterial balance. Seek medical help any time there is penile pain, oozing, change in appearance, or bleeding.

Circumcision Referral

If your physician recommends circumcision for a health complication without first considering less invasive treatments, make sure to get a second opinion. Intact America can help you find a foreskin-friendly physician.

First Aid

Ballooning While Urinating

Ballooning is normal, though it can be alarming to parents seeing it for the first time. This is simply an indication that the foreskin and glans are in the normal process of separation. If your son is not in pain and his urine is flowing freely, there is no need to worry.

Foreskin Won't Return Forward

If the foreskin becomes stuck behind the glans (a condition called paraphimosis), you can usually relieve the problem yourself. Gently squeeze the glans (head of the penis) with your fingers to relieve the swelling and, with first and second finger on either side of the penis , use the thumb to push the glans through the foreskin opening. If unsuccessful after a second try, seek medical assistance immediately. Attention to the matter is critical, but circumcision is NOT necessary to resolve this problem!