What is Phimosis?
Phimosis is a medical condition in which the foreskin from the tip of the penis becomes so tight that it cannot be pulled back. Usually, baby boys with uncircumcised penises have a tight foreskin but if it becomes a problem if the condition persists.
Young children do not necessarily need any kind of treatment unless phimosis makes urinating difficult for them. However, with increasing age, phimosis may need proper treatment.
The one main symptom of phimosis is the inability of pulling foreskin back around the penis. The foreskin of a baby boy loosens by the age of 3 years. This loosening of the foreskin might take more time in some boys than the others. Ideally, a boy should be able to easily pull his foreskin back by the age of seventeen.
Some other phimosis symptoms are swelling of the foreskin and having difficulty while urinating.
Who is at Risk?
One can not exactly tell what phimosis risk factors are, because it happens naturally in boys. However, people who have unhygienic conditions around the pubic area are more prone to developing phimosis as poor hygiene leads to infection, and infection might lead to phimosis.
It might take a longer time for some young boys to loosen their foreskin around penis. This is natural and should not be considered as a severe case of phimosis.
Scientists are yet to find some conclusive phimosis causes. Phimosis doesn’t develop in all boys. However, there are some indirect factors that can act as the causes of developing phimosis. These include:
- Forceful retraction: If the foreskin of a penis is pulled back forcefully before it is ready for a retraction, it might harm the skin and can cause phimosis.
- Infection: Infection in foreskin or in the head of the penis might develop phimosis. Unhygienic conditions or conditions that are caused by an infection like balanitis might lead to the development of phimosis.
How is Phimosis Diagnosed?
Early phimosis diagnosis is done by taking the full history of the person by the doctor. Some common questions asked by the doctors are:
- Any history of injury on penis
- Any kind of infection or inflammation of the penis in the past
- Any unusual symptoms while performing sexual activities
Other than these, the doctor will have a look at your penis and foreskin during a physical examination.
There is no exclusive phimosis test. However, if the doctor suspects of any kind of infection, a urine test might be taken. Sometimes, doctors take a swab from the foreskin to check any bacterial presence.
How is Phimosis Treated?
There is no direct phimosis cure. Doctors give phimosis treatment according to the underlying problem. Few of such treatment methods are:
- If you diagnosed with some kind of infection like balanitis, the doctor will prescribe medication to treat balanitis, which will eventually cure phimosis.
- If your condition has developed naturally, the doctor might suggest practicing retraction of your foreskin on a daily basis. If the condition is not severe, this physical exercise is enough to cure phimosis.
- If the condition is severe, the doctor might also prescribe to apply an ointment around the foreskin to make it softer.
- If medication and exercise don’t work, circumcision or a similar surgery might be done to remove the entire foreskin.
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How Can Phimosis be Prevented?
Since there is no direct cause, it is difficult to find a cure for phimosis. In such a case, the prevention of phimosis is the best option one can have. Few preventive methods you can follow are as follows:
- Clean the penis and foreskin with warm water daily. This will loosen the foreskin and prevent your penis from any kind of infection.
- Men with an uncircumcised penis are advised to pull back the foreskin and clean the underneath part.
- Use a mild soap while cleaning to avoid irritation.
- Do not force retract your foreskin. It should detach naturally; however, if it is taking longer than ideal time, do not pull it forcefully.