Definition of Phimosis

Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin becomes fused to the glans of an uncircumcised penis and will not retract. Phimosis occasionally occurs as a congenital condition (present at birth) though more often develops later in life, typically as a consequence of poor personal hygiene.

Phimosis is the leading cause of balanitis, a fungal infection of the inner surface of the foreskin, and can interfere with urination and cause pain with erection.

Recurrent phimosis increases a man’s risk for cancer of the penis.

Phimosis Treatment

The doctor is sometimes able to gently free the adhered foreskin after anesthetizing the penis. Frequent retraction of the foreskin and diligent cleansing are necessary to prevent phimosis from recurring.

When this is not effective or phimosis becomes chronic, the recommended treatment is circumcision, an operation to surgically remove the foreskin. Though in some men an unusually tight foreskin (congenital phimosis) is the primary cause of phimosis, diligent personal hygiene can prevent most phimosis.

It is important for uncircumcised boys and men to clean beneath the foreskin every day by retracting the foreskin, washing the glans gently but thoroughly to remove any accumulated secretions, and allowing the foreskin to return to its natural position.

See also CHORDEE; CONGENITAL DISORDERS; PARAPHIMOSIS; PEYRONIE’S DISEASE.

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