Smegma Balls

Smegma balls are a common referral to pediatric urologists. These are some of the descriptions I see on the referrals:

  • Penile mass
  • Penile tumor
  • Penile abscess
  • Penile pus

According to this source, “humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every 2-4 weeks at the rate of 0.001 – 0.003 ounces of skin flakes every hour”. All these “skin flakes” normally shed by the foreskin inside penile adhesions form smegma balls with time.

It is normal for uncircumcised boys to have the inner prepuce/foreskin adhered to the head of the penis as shown in this picture:

Soft penile adhesion

As the adhesions peel off naturally, they release the smegma balls, which are cheese like with no particular smell to them. Infection involving a smegma ball is very rare.

Treatment

In the absence of previous infections or symptoms, there is no medical need to remove smegma balls. They go away on their own by the time the foreskin becomes fully retractable –5-6 years of age for most boys.

 

Conclusion

Smegma balls are common and normal in uncircumcised boys. When asymptomatic, they are best left alone.

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