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Bad Smell Under Foreskin

Published: 23 April 2002
Dear TeenHealthFX,
This is going to sound bad. I am not circumcised and I keep getting a bad smelling solid (kind of like tissue paper) under the foreskin. No matter how many times I clean it off it reoccurs. Do I have some disease or something?
Signed: Bad Smell Under Foreskin

Dear Bad Smell Under Foreskin,

 

The "bad smelling tissue paper" under your foreskin is most likely smegma. It is made up of shed skin, skin oils and a small amount of bacteria (which causes the smell). Smegma serves to keep the skin soft and protected and serves as a lubricant for the foreskin to slide up and down. All men produce smegma but it is only noticeable in uncircumcised men since it accumulates below the foreskin.

It is important for cleanliness reasons not to let smegma build up. When you are bathing you should regularly pull back the foreskin and wash the penis head. Make sure that you are not using any harsh soap because this can lead to irritation. It is also key to clean an uncircumcised penis every time you urinate since left over urine can also cause an odor problem.

If you have been practicing good hygiene and you continue to have an unpleasant smelling discharge then there is the possibility of a yeast infection (yes males can get yeast infections). If this is the case then it will be necessary to visit your doctor to have the condition diagnosed and treated. Pulling back the foreskin and washing is a good way to avoid infections.

If you would like to meet with a doctor from the Adolescent/Young Adult Center For Health in Morristown, New Jersey, you can call 973.971.6475 for an appointment.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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