What Is Phimosis

Health Care

What Is Phimosis 

 

An uncircumcised penis is covered by a ring of tissue called the foreskin. This tissue is usually loose and is able to slide over the penis to cover and uncover the glans (head of the penis). If the foreskin is too tight, it can close causing phimosis. If scar tissue forms over the glans, the foreskin will be unable to retract. In some boys the foreskin will retract partially and in severe phimosis the foreskin is unable to attract at all.

Many young boys are unable to attract the foreskin fully. This is called physiologic phimosis and is normal.  Because of this, I do not recommend that parents forcefully retract the foreskin until puberty. By age 6 or 7 most boys are able to gently retract to clean and urinate. However if the child is having pain, decreased ability to void, or ballooning of the foreskin with urination, treatment may be necessary.

Many young boys are unable to attract the foreskin fully. This is called physiologic phimosis and is normal

What does phimosis look like?

  • Inability to visualize the glans
  • Painful erections
  • Repeated urinary infections
  • Inflammation of the head of the penis (balanitis)
  • Difficulty urinating, ballooning of the foreskin with urination or abnormal flow of urine

Good skin hygiene and avoiding forceful retraction of the foreskin can prevent phimosis.

Prevention of phimosis

Good skin hygiene and avoiding forceful retraction of the foreskin can prevent phimosis.

What is phimosis treatment

Phimosis is easily treatable. It rarely requires surgery.

Applying topical steroids to the foreskin twice a day for 4 to 6 weeks often allows the foreskin to be retracted. 

Phimosis cream 

Topical steroids

Applying topical steroids to the foreskin twice a day for 4 to 6 weeks often allows the foreskin to be retracted. However, some boys have recurrence of phimosis when the steroid cream is stopped.

Circumcision

If the foreskin cannot be retracted despite use of topical steroids your physician may recommend circumcision. This is rarely required.

If you think your child has phimosis please see your doctor.

The general information provided on the Website is for informational purposes and is not medical advice.

Do NOT use this Website for medical emergencies.

If you have a medical emergency, call a physician or qualified healthcare provider, or CALL 911 immediately. Under no circumstances should you attempt self-treatment based on anything you have seen or read on this Website. Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed and qualified health provider in your jurisdiction concerning any questions you may have regarding any information obtained from this Website and any medical condition you believe may be relevant to you or to someone else. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

About Dina M. Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

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