Tight foreskin/Phimosis – causes, symptoms and treatment

What is phimosis ?

Phimosis is inability to completely retract the prepuce, otherwise called foreskin. This inability to retract is physiological and normal in children upto 3-4 years of age.

Read how phimosis is different from short frenulum Short Frenulum (Tight Frenulum, Frenulum Breve)

What are the causes of phimosis ?

It can be congenital (present since birth) or secondary (acquired during one’s life). Secondary phimosis can be due to the infections (in diabetes), iatrogenic, prolonged catheter placement, lichen sclerosis (where foreskin becomes whitish and hard).

With what symptoms phimosis patient present with ?

Children with phimosis present with crying episode while passing urine or there may be ballooning of foreskin while passing urine. Adult person with phimosis usually present with the difficulty in passing urine or painful intercourse. In cases of infection, patient may present with pus discharge or redness over the penis.

Is there non surgical treatment of phimosis in young children ?

In children after 2-3 years, if foreskin remain non retractile, mother may be taught to gently retract foreskin during every bath after applying lubricating jelly (petroleum jelly).

What is the treatment of phimosis ?

Phimosis is a surgical curable disease. Children after 3-4 years with non retractile foreskin may be surgically treated with removal of foreskin called circumcision. Adult patient may similarly be undertaken for circumcision if there is no infectious cause of phimosis. In cases of infections leading to phimosis, such patient are treated with antibiotics and maintenance of local hygiene.

What is circumcision surgery ?

Circumcision is a day care procedure and may be done safely under local anesthesia in adults. It can be done either using stapler technique or with absorbable sutures. There is no significant post operative complications associated with this surgery or any problems in attaining erection or sexual performance in adults.

Whom to consult if someone having phimosis ?

You should visit nearby Urologist or Andrologist for the treatment of phimosis.

Published by Dr Varinder Attri

MS MCh (PGI Chandigarh), Urologist and Andrologist

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