The penis advice columnDear Marilyn: My son’s foreskin gets swollen when he urinates. Is this normal? Does something need to be done?

—Lauren, Los Angeles, CA

 Dear Lauren:

If the foreskin opening remains small, while the urine stream is considerable, the foreskin might balloon with urine from the back-pressure. This can be alarming to parents seeing it for the first time. If the boy is not in pain and his urine is free-flowing, there is nothing to worry about. This is simply an indication of the separation of the foreskin and glans and, with time, the foreskin opening will become lax and the ballooning will cease.

Unfortunately, many American health care professionals are unfamiliar with the natural penis, and they are quick to recommend circumcision when it is uncalled for. Any time a health professional suggests you cut your boy’s penis, think about what Sir James Spence wrote in 1950: “Nature is a possessive mistress, and whatever mistakes she makes about the structure of the less essential organs such as the brain and stomach, in which she is not much interested, you can be sure that she knows best about the genital organs.”

—Marilyn Milos, RN