Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin, the retractable skin covering the head of the penis, is too tight to be pulled back. This can make it difficult or impossible to clean the penis properly, and can also lead to pain and discomfort.
Phimosis is most common in babies and young boys. In most cases, the foreskin will loosen naturally over time, and the child will be able to retract it fully by the time they are 5 or 6 years old. However, in some cases, phimosis may persist into adulthood.
There are two types of phimosis:
- Physiologic phimosis: This is the most common type of phimosis, and it is seen in babies and young boys. The foreskin is naturally tight in babies, and it loosens gradually over time.
- Pathologic phimosis: This type of phimosis is less common, and it can occur at any age. It is caused by scarring or inflammation of the foreskin.
Phimosis may not cause any symptoms, but in some cases it can lead to:
- Pain and discomfort during urination
- Pain and discomfort during erection
- Difficulty cleaning the penis
- Infections of the penis
- Paraphimosis, a condition in which the foreskin becomes trapped behind the head of the penis
If you or your child has phimosis, it is important to see a doctor to discuss treatment options. Treatment may involve:
- Steroid cream: This can be used to loosen the foreskin and make it easier to retract.
- Manual dilation: This involves gently stretching the foreskin by hand.
- Surgery: If other treatments are not effective, surgery may be necessary to remove the foreskin (circumcision).
Phimosis is a medical condition in males in which the foreskin, the fold of skin that covers the head (glans) of the penis, is too tight to be easily retracted or pulled back over the glans. This tightness can make it difficult or impossible to fully expose the glans, which can lead to various issues and discomfort.
There are two primary types of phimosis:
- Physiological Phimosis: This is a normal condition that occurs in infants and young boys. In newborns, the foreskin is usually fused to the glans and cannot be retracted. As a child grows, the foreskin gradually becomes more flexible and easier to retract. By adolescence, most boys can comfortably retract the foreskin. Physiological phimosis typically resolves on its own and does not require treatment.
- Pathological Phimosis: This is a condition in which the foreskin remains tight and non-retractable beyond childhood and into adolescence or adulthood. It can result from various factors, including scarring due to infections or inflammation (balanitis), inadequate hygiene, or other underlying medical conditions. Pathological phimosis can cause discomfort, difficulty with hygiene, and, in some cases, complications such as recurrent infections or difficulty urinating.
Treatment for phimosis may include:
- Topical Steroid Creams: In some cases, topical steroid creams may be prescribed to help soften and loosen the tight foreskin. These creams are often used along with gentle stretching exercises.
- Circumcision: Circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the foreskin. It is a common treatment for pathological phimosis and is also performed for cultural, religious, or personal reasons.
- Preputioplasty: This is a less invasive surgical procedure in which the tight portion of the foreskin is incised to allow for stretching and improved retraction. Unlike circumcision, preputioplasty preserves the majority of the foreskin.