In newborn males, the foreskin usually has not separated completely from the end of the penis, making it impossible to fully retract or pull back the foreskin to expose the glans. It may take months or years before the foreskin becomes retractable, which allows the boy to clean the area of the penis under the foreskin. (This occurs in about 90 percent of uncircumcised boys by five years of age.) Infection of the glans and foreskin, called balanitis, is more common in uncir-cumcised males, but this is usually avoidable by teaching boys to regularly clean the area once the foreskin has become retractable.
Figure 7.2. Circumcised penis. In the circumcised penis, the foreskin has been surgically removed to reveal the head of the penis.
collar of skin, known as the foreskin, that surrounds the head of the penis.
In about 5 to 10 percent of uncircumcised boys, the foreskin remains tightly wrapped around the glans or cannot be retracted easily, a condition known as phimosis. In some cases, phimosis can cause increased risk of balanitis, pain when the penis becomes erect, and blockage in the outflow of urine. (Even uncircumcised infants should have a forceful urine stream—consult your child's doctor if your son's urine only dribbles out.) These conditions may require circumcision surgery, which after the newborn period is a more formal surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia.
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