Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin of the penis (the male sex organ) cannot be retracted. This leads to painful urination and erections. Most boys are born with this condition. It is known as physiologic phimosis and usually resolves on its own by age 5. In older boys and adult men, phimosis results from injuries and bacterial infection. This is known as pathologic phimosis and requires treatment in the form of topical steroid creams and surgery .
Phimosis is a condition in which the prepuce (foreskin) of the penis cannot retract. This condition is frequently seen in kids but is also common in adults. Phimosis leads to the appearance of rings around the penis and causes symptoms like pain during urination and erection. Phimosis is not seen in men who are circumcised.
The prepuce is tight when the baby is born and gradually loosens up. By the time the baby is 2 years old, the pouch loosens up, and it can be fully retracted by age 5. This is a normal phenomenon and is known as physiologic phimosis.
In older boys and men, infections of the penis and injuries can damage the prepuce. It leads to painful urination and erections. This type of phimosis seen in men and older boys requires treatment as it does not resolve on its own. It is known as pathologic phimosis.
Phimosis affects uncircumcised males. It is more common in older boys than in men. In older boys, phimosis has the following reasons for development:
In older men, phimosis can happen due to the following reasons:
Most kids with phimosis do not experience any symptoms. Adults with phimosis also do not experience any symptoms. In severe cases when the prepuce completely covers the tip of the penis, there may be symptoms like-
A clinical evaluation is the best way to diagnose phimosis. A urologist (a doctor specializing in diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system) will manage phimosis. Your doctor will thoroughly examine the penis to arrive at the diagnosis.
Additional tests to help understand the reasons for the development and any underlying medical disorders may be advised by your doctor:
Circumcision is the surgery performed in children not responsive to conservative treatment for phimosis. Circumcisions are usually done by a pediatrician (a doctor who treats children), a urologist, or a surgeon. In most young boys, surgery is only required when medical treatments have failed to relieve the symptoms. Complete or partial circumcision will be recommended by the surgeon depending on the condition of the child.
The recovery time from circumcision varies depending on the type of procedure performed. All procedures are daycare procedures, meaning you or the child can go home the same day.
Phimosis does not cause any symptoms in young boys. They usually grow out of this condition. In adults, there may be several symptoms that, if not addressed, lead to complications.
Prevention is better than cure. This stands true for phimosis too. Penile hygiene is a simple and easy way to prevent phimosis.
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A man with phimosis may not be able to indulge in sexual activity due to the pain and friction on the skin. Phimosis also indicates a possibility of type 2 diabetes. These two reasons may play a role in a man with phimosis not being able to have children. As such, phimosis does not affect your sperm count and has no bearing on your ability to father children.
Phimosis is not a life-threatening condition. IT rarely causes symptoms in young boys and they outgrow the condition by 5 years of age. In adults, there may be symptoms like pain during urination and sexual activities, difficulty passing urine, swelling of the foreskin, and infections of the foreskin. These symptoms can cause severe complications if not treated on time.
Getting a circumcision means:
Circumcision may cause complications like:
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