What is Phimosis? How Circumcision Can Help

Phimosis is a condition affecting the male penis. In a male whose penis has not been circumcised, a layer of skin called the foreskin covers the head of the penis. Usually the foreskin (or “prepuce” in medical language) can be retracted, or pulled back. 

Phimosis happens when the foreskin cannot be retracted. The condition can make the penis look swollen and red, with a tight “ring” around its tip. 

It can lead to complications including infections and problems urinating.

If you’re searching for the word “phimosis” because your doctor has told you about the condition, there is a chance you have also been told that circumcision can help males diagnosed with phimosis. 

Let’s learn more about the condition first.

Phimosis: who does it affect?

There are two types of phimosis: “physiologic” and “pathogenic”.

Physiologic Phimosis

It is normal for male babies to be born with phimosis. The medical term for this is “physiologic” or “congenital” (meaning “born-with”) phimosis. 

Most of the time, the child’s foreskin will naturally retract by the time they are three years old.  

If you are a parent of a boy with a tight foreskin that does not pull back, please discuss the issue with your doctor. There may be no cause for concern, although you may consider circumcision for phimosis or other health and hygiene reasons.

Pathogenic Phimosis

If phimosis remains as the boy moves into the teenage years and adulthood, there are potential health consequences that need to be taken into account.

“Pathogenic phimosis” occurs when there is scarring or inflammation of the foreskin. It can be caused by diabetes, infections, skin conditions like eczema, sexually transmitted diseases, and poor genital hygiene.

Paraphimosis is a rare condition that happens when the foreskin becomes retracted and stuck below the tip of the penis. As this decreases blood flow to the tip of the penis, emergency surgery is required to remedy the problem.

Phimosis: what happens if it is not treated?

Good hygiene practices can help prevent phimosis in teenage boys and adults. However, once the condition is established it leads to painful symptoms:

  • Swollen penis
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Discharge
  • Problems with sexual functioning

Symptoms vary for different people. Again, consult a doctor for advice. Topical treatments like antibiotics and steroid creams are available if an infection or eczema is the source of the problem. For recurring symptoms and paraphimosis you may need a surgical solution.

Circumcision: how does it help people with phimosis?

If phimosis is an ongoing problem that is causing pain, restricting your sexual function and may lead to more severe symptoms, you may consider circumcision. A qualified doctor will remove all or part of the foreskin, using the latest surgical procedures or advanced techniques such as the Shangring method according to your needs.

Removal or partial removal of the foreskin has led to reported improvements in patients’ clinical symptoms of phimosis. Contact Victorian Circumcision Clinic for advice and information about how circumcision can help treat phimosis.

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