Phimosis is very common in newborns, with virtually all male infants born with the condition. The foreskin, the skin that covers the head of the penis, is naturally fused to the glans (head) at birth and gradually separates over time. By the age of 5-7 years old, most boys will have fully retractable foreskins. However, it is not uncommon for boys to still have some degree of phimosis at this age.
Only about 1% of boys will still have phimosis by the time they reach adolescence. Phimosis is also more common in uncircumcised men than in circumcised men.
There are two types of phimosis:
- Physiological phimosis: This is the most common type of phimosis and is present in virtually all newborns. It is caused by the normal development of the foreskin and usually resolves on its own over time.
- Pathological phimosis: This is a less common type of phimosis that is caused by scarring or inflammation of the foreskin. It can occur at any age and may require treatment.
Phimosis is a relatively common condition in infants and young boys but becomes less common as individuals grow older. Here’s a breakdown of its prevalence in different age groups:
- Infants and Young Boys: Physiological phimosis, which is a natural and normal condition in newborns and young boys, is quite common. In newborns, the foreskin is often fused to the glans (head of the penis), and this fusion gradually loosens as the child grows. It is estimated that up to 90% of newborn boys may have some degree of physiological phimosis.
- Adolescents and Adults: Pathological phimosis, where the foreskin remains non-retractable or becomes tighter as males mature, is less common in older age groups. It can occur, but the prevalence decreases significantly beyond childhood. Estimates of the prevalence of pathological phimosis in older age groups vary, but it is generally considered less common than physiological phimosis.