Tight Foreskin – What Is Phimosis?
Phimosis is the medical term used to describe a too tight foreskin. Boys and men who have not been circumcised can develop Phimosis. Typically, the foreskin will not pull back over the head of the penis before ages 14 or 15. If your son has this problem before the age of 14 there is no need to be alarmed. However, after the age of 15 boys should be able to easily pull the foreskin back. If they cannot the foreskin may be too tight, and they may indeed have Phimosis. Grown men can also develop Phimosis. When this condition occurs in adults it is most commonly caused from one of two reasons. The first cause is thrush, and the second is a condition called Balanitis Exerotica Obliterans. Thrush infections can be quite bothersome, and will cause many symptoms such as itching, foul odor, redness, burning, and a buildup of white material. The thrush will dry out the foreskin making it impossible or painful to pull back. The second cause is not an infection, but rather just something that can happen. It is a medical condition where the foreskin itself changes. It becomes thicker which can result in it’s inability to be pulled back. Phimosis can also be caused from SDI’s, or sexually transmitted infections.
Seeing Your Doctor…
Any time the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis in anyone over 14-15 years of age it is considered a medical emergency. Serious problems can result in the too tight foreskin, including difficulty urinating and pain. A trip to the doctor is a must. If the problem occurs when outside of your regular doctors business hours a trip to the ER is recommended. Sometimes the problem isn’t with the foreskin itself, it is with the head of the penis. There is another condition that is similar to Phimosis where the head of the penis becomes inflamed. Only a doctor can tell you for sure what the problem is. Phimosis should never be left untreated. When the foreskin cannot be pulled back proper cleansing it not possible. Without good hygiene the head of the penis will be inflamed, and infected. Swelling, redness, pain, itching, and burning are common in people with untreated Phimosis.
How Common Is It?
Approximately ten percent of all boys who are not circumcised at birth will develop Phimosis. More than that will develop partial Phimosis. Partial Phimosis is not as severe as full Phimosis as the tight foreskin can be pulled partially back. However, partial Phimosis can still result in some of the same symptoms and should be taken as seriously as full blown Phimosis. Medical treatment is required.
When the cause is Thrush an anti-fungal medication must be prescribed. Thrush does not, and will not go away without medical treatment. When the cause of the Phimosis is Balanitis Exerotica Obliterans steroid cream will most likely be prescribed. There are two types of surgery that can serve as treatment for treatment of a tight foreskin. The first is the Dorsal Slit, and the second is Circumcision. A Dorsal Slit may cut in the foreskin in some cases. This is a minor surgery when the foreskin is cut slightly. This allows the foreskin to expand enough to be able to be pulled back. During circumcision the foreskin is removed completely. This eliminates the problem entirely.
Exercises That Can Help…
There are several different types of stretching exercises that you can preform yourself, in the privacy of your own home. These three exercises can help to treat and prevent a too tight foreskin. Some men with mild Phimosis have actually been able to cure the problem on their own using these three exercises.
Place your thumb and forefinger each on opposite sides of the head of your penis while you are in the shower. Allow the water to completely wet your penis and foreskin. The water acts as a lubricant and makes it easier for the foreskin to be retracted. Gently use your thumbs and forefinger to pull the foreskin back as far as it will go. Hold it there for five seconds then release. Repeat ten to fifteen times during the span of your shower. Do this each time you shower for best results.
Massage and work the foreskin as it covers the head of the penis. DO this by gently rubbing the very tip of the foreskin. Use lubrication to make sure that you do not cause additional dryness, or injury to the foreskin. Massage for five minutes at a time, several times a day for best results. After the massage is complete you will find that the foreskin is looser and is more able to be retracted.
Masturbating is actually an exercise option for treating Phimosis. Again, you will need to use some sort of lubrication, or you can do this in the shower like exercises number one. I don’t think I need to explain how this one is done. However, I will state that as you preform this exercise you will find that the movement of your hand will affect the foreskin. The foreskin will move slightly back and forth at first. The lube will help to loosen the tight foreskin and the continued intensity of your motions will work the foreskin back and forth. By the time you are done preforming this exercise the foreskin should be able to be fully retracted.
Can It Be Prevented?
Proper hygiene, safe sex, and precautionary exercises can all help to prevent Phimosis in adult men. Phimosis in children is quite normal and cannot be prevented. Never try to force a young boys foreskin back while bathing them, etc., because it is not meant to be pulled back at such an early age. Doing so can cause pain, tearing, and other damage to your child. You can help to prevent Phimosis in young teens by talking to them about their foreskins. Young boys should be educated about keeping themselves clean, and about retracting their foreskins when they reach the age of 14. It’s important that boys know and understand how their foreskins work, and what constitutes a problem. An embarrassed young man may not tell his parents or doctor that anything is wrong until it’s too late therefore honest, open communication is the most effective form of prevention.