The glans penis can be described as the rounded head (or tip) of the penis. Located in the middle of the glans penis is the opening of the urethra, the tube through which semen and urine exits the body. 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.

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, most of the foreskin is removed, leaving the glans exposed at all times. Circumcised children are at an increased risk for infections of the urethra opening (or meatus); such an illness is referred to as urethritis. Alternately, parents of uncircumcised children should gently clean the glans area daily to prevent bacteria growth.