Phimosis

Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin cannot be retracted. The definition of phimosis is the inability to retract the foreskin over the glans penis. It is a condition that is common in children and young adolescents. It usually stops being a problem by the age of 3 and by the age of 10 most uncircumcised boys can pull their foreskin back from the head of the penis.

For some, it may not retract completely until they are about 17-years-old if this condition occurs it is called phimosis. It may be bothersome for some people, which may cause repeated ballooning of the glans and urinary tract infections. In adults, especially diabetics, infections may predispose to phimosis and cause urinary tract obstructions with dribbling urine.

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Symptoms of phimosis

The main symptom of phimosis is the inability to retract the foreskin. Your foreskin will be stuck in one place, either on the tip or behind. Another common symptom of phimosis is the swelling of the foreskin while urinating.

Treatment for phimosis is not needed unless it causes symptoms like pain, soreness, swelling. Usually, these symptoms resolve themselves but if your phimosis interferes with a healthy erection or urination you must seek medical attention.

Recurrent infections of the glans or foreskin must also be evaluated. Signs of an infection can be:

  • Changes in the colour of the glans or foreskin
  • Presence of spots or rash
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Swelling

Causes of phimosis

Phimosis can occur naturally in some boys. But it can also be caused by other conditions such as when the foreskin is retracted back forcefully before its ready. This leads to scarring, which can lead to an infection that might make the skin less stretchy. Even pulling or stretching your foreskin can cause tiny tears and inflammations which lead to phimosis.

In adults, phimosis can be caused by several factors such as aging, diabetes which causes a condition called balanitis. Phimosis can also be associated with sexually transmitted infections.

It can also be caused by a number of different skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, lichen sclerosis.

Treatment for phimosis

A careful diagnosis of other infections is done to determine the severity of the case. If there is no infection or other disease-causing phimosis, it is just a naturally occurring development of the foreskin. Several different treatment options are available for treating this condition. Depending on the severity of the case, treatments such as usage of steroid creams and manual stretching can be used to treat the problem.

In more serious cases, surgery a phimosis surgery or circumcision is required. Either a dorsal split operation or a circumcision can be done to treat this. Circumcision is a simple out-patient surgery that offers permanent relief symptoms of phimosis.

Possible complications that can arise because of a circumcision

  • Bleeding
  • Blockage of the urethra
  • An infection which can lead to poor healing
  • Irritation of the tip of the penis
  • Removal of too much or too little foreskin

This procedure is done regularly at our hospital by a special technique with specialised doctors. The recovery of this procedure is quick and causes minimal pain.

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