Phimosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & FAQs

Things you need to know about Phimosis

What is phimosis?

Phimosis is a condition that affects the foreskin of the penis. Normally, the foreskin can be pulled back from the tip of the penis, but it does not happen in this condition. The foreskin becomes too tight to be pulled back. 

Phimosis can occur naturally since birth (congenital), or as a result of an injury and a scar. This condition occurs in children who are not circumcised. It does not usually require any medical intervention unless it causes any problems with urination. 

If it happens in adults, phimosis can cause pain and problems during an erection. In such cases, treatment can relieve the symptoms.

What are the symptoms of phimosis?

Some of the symptoms of phimosis are only seen in adults, while some are common in both children and adults. The main phimosis symptom is the inability to pull back the foreskin from the bulb of the penis at 3 years of age. Other common symptoms include pain, swelling at the tips of the penis, bulging of foreskin, and pain during urination.  

What causes phimosis?

It is unclear why phimosis occurs only in a few boys. If the foreskin is forcibly moved, it can cause scarring, which leads to phimosis. Sometimes an infection or an inflammation of the foreskin may lead to phimosis. It can happen in men and young boys. Poor hygiene can also lead to infection. Repeated urinary tract infections can also lead to phimosis.

How is phimosis diagnosed?

Physical examinations by a healthcare practitioner or a doctor are required for the diagnosis of Phimosis. The only way to make the correct diagnosis is to try to retract the foreskin from the bulb of the penis. If you see that it is not possible to move the foreskin and causes pain while doing it, it indicates phimosis.  

What treatments are there for phimosis?

There are only three treatment plans for phimosis unless there are some other special circumstances. They are

  1. To wait and see if it goes back to normal by itself. 
  2. Using steroid creams to see if it reduces inflammation and scarring
  3. To have surgery to remove the foreskin, also known as circumcision 

What complications are related to phimosis or phimosis treatment?

If you wait and see if the phimosis goes back to normal, it may not go back and worsen the condition by causing more pain and discomfort. Steroid creams are used to reduce inflammation and cause stretching. Surgery is the final treatment option. All these treatments can cause complications such as bleeding, pain, infection, etc. 

How do I take care of myself if I have phimosis?

There are some ways that you can take care of phimosis by yourself. Try to be gentle and do not stretch the foreskin too much. It can cause scarring and worsen the condition. Try to keep the area clean to prevent any infections. Do not wait too long to seek treatment.

How can I prevent phimosis?

There are a few ways you can prevent phimosis. Keep the foreskin and the area beneath it clean and dry. It prevents infections. Do not use irritating products in the area, use a mild soap and lukewarm water for cleaning. If there is an injury, immediately consult a doctor.

Why does phimosis occur?

The exact reason behind phimosis is not known. It can occur naturally. It is more common in uncircumcised babies. It is normal in kids. Phimosis detaches itself naturally at the age of 3 to 6 years. But, it can also happen due to scarring or injury.

Is phimosis a problem?

Phimosis can only be a problem either if it causes some kind of symptoms like pain, difficulty in urination, infection, etc. It can also be a problem if it persists into the adult stage or occurs due to infection or injury. Otherwise, it is not a serious condition.

Can a man with phimosis make a woman pregnant?

Phimosis only affects the foreskin. It does not cause any problems with sperm or fertility issues. It does not affect tests and semen. So, women can get pregnant. However, depending on the condition, sexual intercourse causes problems such as pain and uneasiness.

Does phimosis effect size?

The attached foreskin in phimosis covers most of the end of the penis. It traps the bulb of the penis. So, after the surgery, when the foreskin is removed, patients notice the size is much bigger than before. However, the size depends on genetics, blood flow, etc.

Is phimosis common?

Phimosis can be found in almost all newborn babies, but the foreskin retracts as they age. It might not retract 10% of boys. Most of them recover after a few years without any medical intervention. It is not common in adulthood. 

How to cure phimosis?

Phimosis cures by itself in most newborns as they grow old. However, if it persists after some years and causes problems, it needs treatment such as steroid creams and surgery. Circumcised kids never get phimosis.  

Can phimosis cause cancer?

Untreated phimosis can increase the risk of penile cancer, even though it is rare. If the conditions like infections, less blood flow, etc., can affect the functioning of the penis. Poor hygiene also increases the chances of inflammation, which can increase the risk of cancer. 

Is phimosis causing infertility?

No, phimosis does not affect the sperm or the testis. It does not lower the functioning of the testis. Unless there is another condition that affects them, phimosis does not lower the fertility in men.

Is phimosis a disease?

Phimosis is a condition, not a disease, that affects the foreskin of the penis. It is normal in newborns. But is not contagious to other people or other areas of the body. Sometimes it does not even cause any symptoms, and men can lead a normal life without treatment.

What is the difference between phimosis and paraphimosis?

Both are different from each other. In phimosis, you can not retract or pull down the foreskin. Whereas in paraphimosis, the foreskin is already retracted, and it cannot be pulled back up the penis.

Get a free second opinion from medical experts at Yashoda Hospitals.






“The content of this publication has been developed by a third party content provider who is clinicians and/or medical writers and/or experts. The information contained herein is for educational purpose only and we request you to please consult a Registered Medical Practitioner or Doctor before deciding the appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan.”


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