Q: After he complained of pain at the base of his penis, we took our six-year-old to see the doctor, who had him provide a urine sample to test for infection. The doctor also advised that my son’s foreskin should have pulled back by now. What does this mean?
A: Without examining him in person, it’s difficult to determine the reason for your son’s pain. If the base of his penis was swollen, there may have been some fluid retention; if there was any redness on the shaft or the tip, a slight infection might have been present. Consider too that a six-year-old might use the word “pain” to describe the discomfort of erections, which are completely normal at this age and even younger.
Now to the second part of your question: According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, although most boys will be able to pull back the foreskin somewhat by age five or six, some boys will not be able to do so until puberty. It could simply be that your son is in the latter group. In the meantime, make certain that he can urinate with a good stream and that he doesn’t experience any pain, redness or infections. Teach him to clean the area gently with soap and water, then leave him to it, letting him know he can talk to you anytime about concerns he might have.