The glans penis can most basically be described as the rounded head of a penis. Situated in the middle of the glans penis is the opening of the urethra. At birth, the glans of the penis is attached to an area of skin called the foreskin. Over time, this foreskin will begin to separate from the glans, until the skin is able to full retract. This separation occurs slowly and naturally, and could take as long as eighteen years to separate fully. In children who are circumcised, the foreskin is removed, leaving the glans exposed at all times. Circumcised children are at an increased risk for infections of the urethra opening, called the meatus. Alternately, parents of uncircumcised children should gently clean the glans area daily to prevent bacteria growth. Often referred to as the penis's "head," the term glans penis was derived from the Latin word for "acorn." This nickname was chosen due to the acorn-like shape of the glans of the penis.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Glans penis