Every week, Intact America receives at least a couple of inquiries from mothers or fathers concerned about the “ballooning” (or puffing up) of their young son’s foreskin when he urinates. Some have consulted a doctor, and have been told that the boy “needs to be circumcised.”

Two things:

First, ballooning is perfectly NORMAL. It’s an indication that the natural separation of his foreskin and glans is occurring.

Second, if ballooning is your boy’s only “symptom,” he does NOT “need” a circumcision; in fact, what he NEEDS is to be left alone!
An elderly Irishman once told me how, as a boy, he and his friends “lucky enough to have a foreskin that ballooned” would stand in a row, urinate, and then squeeze the balloon to see who could “shoot” the farthest. As the preputial (foreskin’s) opening widens, most boys decrease their chances of winning the game but increase their ability to retract their foreskin.

Many doctors are unaware of how the intact penis works. They simply do not know that the average age at which the foreskin and the glans penis completely separate is around 10 1/2 years old (which means that many boys’ foreskins do not become fully retractable until well into adolescence). These doctors recommend forced foreskin retraction and if that fails (which it almost certainly will), they recommend circumcision.

So, if your son’s foreskin balloons when he pees, and he isn’t complaining of pain or difficulty urinating, look the other way! Between nature and his own exploring hands, everything will work out fine. (Most boys whose foreskins are beginning to separate will pull them away from the body; they will virtually never forcibly retract the foreskin back, because that is painful.)

If your doctor suggests a circumcision, say “no, thank you,” and give him or her a copy of this article!