What is phimosis?
A foreskin that is too tight or a frenulum that is too tight can cause men pain during sex. With most men the foreskin and frenulum stretches during childhood, so that the foreskin can be retracted easily. Phimosis often doesn't have a serious cause and can be treated effectively.
What are sympsoms of phimosis?
- Pain during sex
- Not being able to fully retract the foreskin
- Inflammation of the head of the penis
Is phimosis serious and should I see a doctor?
Phimosis can be very bothersome, but usually isn't serious. With phimosis the foreskin is too tight or the frenulum too short for the foreskin to be retracted fully or at all. Because of this constriction, smegma (the natural discharge from the head of the penis) can be hard to clean, which can caus inflammation.
Contact a doctor:
- To assess the complaints
- To discuss the appropriate course of treatment
- When you have a ring shaped swelling behind the head of your penis, causing the foreskin not to be able to be retracted
What can I do about phimosis myself?
- You could try gradually stretching the foreskin a little yourself:
- Retract the foresekin to the point where you feel it stretching, but it doesn't hurt yet
- If this doesn't go smoothly, you might try using some lubrication
- When you can retract the foreskin over the head of the penis when it's flacid, you might not be able to do the same when you have an erection
- When you have an erection you follow the same steps as when it's flacid
- When stretching the foreskin yourself doesn't have the desired effect, you can discuss other treatment possibilities with a doctor
How does phimosis affect my body?
With phimosis the foreskin is to narrow to be retracted or the frenulum is to short to allow the foreskin to be retracted. With very young boys it's very common that the foreskin can't be retracted fully. In early childhood the foreskin and the frenulum usually stretch, allowing full retraction. With some people this doesn't happen and the foreskin remains too narrow or the frenulum too short. This in itself isn't an issue, but this can also pose problems for personal hygiene. Not being able to clean the head of the penis thoroughly, can eventually cause inflammation and pain. This is an important reason to treat phimosis.
Phimosis can also cause problems when the foreskin can be retracted over the head of the penis. With an erection the foreskin can get stuk behind the head of the penis and swell, causing it not to be able to be put back over the head of the penis. This is an urgent complaint, requiring the attention of a doctor. Call a doctor immediately when this happens, also on the weekend.