CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Phimosis

Fi-mo-sis

Definition

Phimosis is when the opening of the foreskin of the penis is too small, or the foreskin is too tight or stuck to the head of the penis. This makes it difficult to retract the foreskin over the tip of the penis.

Foreskin of the Penis

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

The foreskin is connected to a newborn’s penis at birth. This called physiologic phimosis. As a child grows, the foreskin naturally separates from the head of the penis. In some boys, the foreskin does not separate. The reason why is not known.

In other cases, called pathologic phimosis, it may happen due to:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Adhesions
  • Repeated forceful retraction of the foreskin
  • Inflammation and swelling

Risk Factors    TOP

Phimosis is more common in young boys. It may also occur in older boys and men.

Risk factors for phimosis may include:

  • Trauma
  • Bacterial infections such as balanitis
  • Poor hygiene

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms may include:

  • Inability to retract the foreskin
  • Pain
  • Swelling and redness
  • Scarring

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It will include a genital exam. The diagnosis is made based on the ability of the foreskin to retract.

Treatment    TOP

Phimosis may improve with time. If treatment is needed it will be chosen depending on the cause of your phimosis. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.

Your doctor may advise medication that is applied to the area. Medication can help decrease swelling and loosen the skin.

If medication is not successful and surgical procedure may be done. The foreskin may need to be partially or totally removed. This can be done with circumcision. Occasionally, small connections, called adhesions, can be removed.

Prevention    TOP

There are ways to reduce your chances of getting phimosis. These may include:

  • When able to do so, gently retract the foreskin when urinating and bathing
  • Good hygeine of the penis and foreskin
  • Circumcision to remove the foreskin

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Paediatric Society
http://www.cps.ca

References:

McGregor T, Pike J, et al. Pathologic and physiologic phimosis. Can Fam Physician. 2007 March;53(3):445-448.
Phimosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114116/Phimosis. Updated March 26, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Phimosis. University of California, San Francisco website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 19, 2016.
Phimosis and paraphimosis. Patient UK website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated June 16, 2014. Accessed February 19, 2016..
Phimosis (tight foreskin). NHS Choices website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 26, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Tight foreskin (phimosis). The British Association of Urological Surgeons website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 19, 2016.
Tight foreskin (phimosis). NetDoctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated April 29, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 2/12/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000