Phimosis (Tight Foreskin)

Phimosis (tight foreskin)

Phimosis is the inability to retract the skin (foreskin or prepuce) covering the head (glans) of the penis, as a result of narrowing or tightness of the end of the foreskin.

Phimosis may appear as a tight ring or “rubber band” of foreskin around the tip of the penis, preventing full retraction.

Physiologic phimosis occurs in children born with tight foreskin at birth and which separates naturally over time. Phimosis is normal for the uncircumcised infant/child and usually resolves around 5-7 years of age, however the child may be older. This is normal and does not require correction.

Pathologic phimosis occurs due to scarring, infection or inflammation, which causes the narrowing of the end of the foreskin. Forceful foreskin retraction may cause bleeding, scarring, and pain. If there is ballooning of the foreskin during urination, difficulty with urination, or infection, then treatment will be required.

Pic from AboutKidsHealth

Circumcision done


Phimosis is diagnosed by clinical examination by the doctor.


Most treatment with cream or dilatation of the foreskin is prone to failure.

The definitive treatment is circumcision where the foreskin is removed.

If left untreated, phimosis may cause pain and difficulty to pass urine, repeated infection and may cause paraphimosis (a condition where the foreskin is stuck and cannot be pulled forward over the tip of the penis). This causes the foreskin to become swollen and stuck, which may slow or stop the flow of blood to the tip of the penis).

Paraphimosis is an emergency and requires an immediate manual reduction or surgery to cut the constricting ring from the paraphimosis.

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