Care for Your Newborn Boy's Genitals

A boy's penis is fully formed at birth, and at that time your pediatric provider (and probably you) will have inspected things to be sure everything looks normal.

Common, usually minor, findings that are occasionally seen include:

Undescended testicle(s). Sometimes, one or both testicles cannot be felt in the scrotum. However, if they can be felt higher up, nearer to the groin, then typically they can and will descend on their own without any intervention. If your pediatric provider is completely unable to locate one or both, they may still reside in the abdomen and not have made the normal descent into the scrotum in the last trimester. This is called "undescended testicles" or "cryptorchidism."

 In such cases, pediatricians usually wait and watch. Quite often, the testicles descend on their own (3%-5% of boys are born with this; by 6 months, only 0.8% still have an undescended testicle without any intervention).

If, by 6 months or so, the testicle still can't be felt, you may want to consult with a pediatric urologist. He or she may recommend a simple outpatient procedure (called "orchiopexy") to bring down the testicle from the abdomen and "tack" it to the scrotum so that it does not move upward again.

 

Malpositioned urinary opening ("hypospadias"). The urinary opening ("meatus") should be at or very near the center of the tip of the penis (the "glans"), but is occasionally found to be away from the center, usually on the underside of the shaft of the penis. This occurs during genital formation in the womb. No one really knows why, although occasionally, it is also seen in the father. A malpositioned urinary opening usually requires no intervention; the opening may be very near where it should be and cause no real trouble.

Should it be quite far from the center of the glans, it may eventually require surgery to bring it into proper position. For this reason, circumcision is postponed so the foreskin tissue can be used in the surgical repair, which is done at 6 months of age.

 

Continued

Tips for Concerned Parents

Watch for a good strong urinary stream in your newborn. This is the best evidence that the strength of the bladder contractions and the urinary opening (urethra) are in perfect working order.

Care for your son's uncircumcised penis by gently cleansing with warm water only. There is no need to try to retract the foreskin, which hurts and is unnecessary.

If your newborn is circumcised, gently clean the area with warm water, and if your baby's doctor recommends it, put a dab of petroleum jelly on the penis or on the front of the diaper for a few days to ease discomfort from friction against the diaper. You might also be advised to apply a new bandage on the penis during diaper changes for a few days.

 

 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on June 07, 2015

Sources

SOURCES: 

"The newborn examination: part II. Emergencies and common abnormalities involving the abdomen, pelvis, extremities, genitalia and spine,'' American Family Physician. 65(2):265-70, 2002 Jan 15.

Nemours Foundation (kidshealth.org): "Circumcision."

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