Forced Retraction: Don't Let it Happen to Your Son

By Peggy Fenton
Read more from Fenton at Intactivist Examiner

Jenny's pediatrician told her to start retracting her baby's foreskin for cleaning at his 12-month well baby visit. Jenny didn't do it, because she read that it's not good to retract on the internet.

At her son's 15 month well-baby visit, Jenny's pediatrician retracted the boy's foreskin herself, scolding Jenny as she did so, for neglecting her son's genital hygiene. The pediatrician told Jenny to retract her son's foreskin every day for cleaning. This time Jenny listened.

From that point on, she and her husband dutifully retracted their son's foreskin for cleaning, almost every day. This continued until the boy was 18 months old.

Then one day, Jenny noticed her son had not wet his diaper all afternoon. He cried at bath time as he dribbled a little urine. Soon the baby was screaming each time he tried to urinate.

Jenny's son's foreskin was infected, as a result of being retracted long before it was meant to be. By retracting the foreskin, Jenny's pediatrician had severed the fragile connective tissue between the foreskin and glans, and prematurely stretched the sphincter opening. The internal environment was no longer sterile and the natural protective flora had been disrupted.

Instead of cleaning and caring for her son's penis, by repeatedly retracting him as her doctor insisted, Jenny had been setting him up for infection.

After several trips to the emergency room for emergency catheterization to release urine, and a painful distressing week for Jenny and her son, he finally began to mend. Jenny realized her doctor had given her bad advice.

Jenny went online where she quickly connected with other mothers of intact boys, eager to share the intact care information so commonly lacking among American doctors.

What did Jenny find out?

* Only clean what is seen, and never retract. The foreskin is there for a reason - to protect the still developing glans, and to keep it clean and healthy. It is supposed to be attached to the glans during infancy and childhood.

* Forced premature retraction is epidemic among American healthcare workers, including pediatricians, and nurses, even doctors and nurses in the maternity ward. It is also epidemic among day care workers, babysitters, and well-meaning but misinformed aunties and grannies.

* Parents of intact boys must remain vigilant during the diaper years to prevent another person from prematurely retracting their son's foreskin. Parents must proactively warn doctors and nurses at every well baby visit that their son's foreskin is not to be retracted. It can happen in an instant, and then the damage is done. Parents should be direct and firm. If necessary, they may even threaten legal action if their wishes are not respected.

* If a doctor or health care worker prematurely retracts your child, consider reporting them to your state medical society, supplying all the details.

Additional Information


Forced Retraction: Now What?

Only Clean What is Seen: Reversing the Epidemic of Forced Retraction

Medical Testing: Do Not Retract

Forced Retraction: Ask the Experts

Doctors Opposing Circumcision - Warning to Parents: Foreskin Retraction of Intact Boys - an epidemic

Doctors Opposing Circumcision - Development of Retractile Foreskin

Only Clean What is Seen (pdf)


The Functions of the Foreskin: Purposes of the Prepuce

The Phony Phimosis Diagnosis

Protect Your Intact Son

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers Publication on care of the intact penis (pdf).

Raising Intact Sons

Basic Care of the Intact Child

Painful Urination During Prepuce Separation

Questions Regarding Normal Separation of the Prepuce

How the Foreskin Protects Against UTI

Circumcision Information Resource Page (CIRP) libray - Penile hygiene for intact males

*Note: You may wish to maintain a Diaper-On policy at check-ups to prevent this from happening. Unless there is a suspected problem, there is no reason your physician or nurse needs to remove your son's diaper. Simply state that you will be keeping it on - he can be weighed and checked with a clean diaper on, without removing it. If you'd like to learn more on how to examine your baby yourself, see the excellent book, Take Charge of Your Child's Health.


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