CHOC Children's
ADOLESCENT MEDICINE :: Male Physical Development

Care of the Uncircumcised Penis

The penis, the outer reproductive organ of the male, consists of two parts - the shaft and the glans. The glans is the tip of the penis, while the shaft is the main part of the penis. All boys are born with a foreskin, or a covering over the tip of the penis. Some boys are circumcised, which means that this covering of skin is removed. Other boys are not circumcised and may have skin that covers the tip of the penis. The decision to circumcise a baby boy may depend on many factors, including the parent's preference, religion, and where the child is born.

In an uncircumcised boy, the foreskin will begin to separate from the glans, or the tip of the penis. This happens naturally while the male is an infant. This is called foreskin retraction. Foreskin retraction may happen immediately after birth, or it may take several years. Most foreskins can be fully retracted by the time the male is 18 years old. Retraction of the foreskin, or pulling the foreskin back from the tip of the penis, should not be forced. If the foreskin is forced to retract, it may result in bleeding and discomfort.

How to care for the uncircumcised penis:

As an adolescent, the uncircumcised male should retract, or pull back, the foreskin and clean underneath it daily. It should be a part of his daily hygiene routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that the foreskin should be cleansed by following the steps below:

  • Gently, not forcefully, pull the foreskin away from the tip of the penis.
  • Rinse the tip of the penis and the inside part of the foreskin with soap and water.
  • Return the foreskin back over the tip of the penis.

Always consult your adolescent's physician for more information.

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Online Resources of Adolescent Medicine

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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