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What is Phimosis / Tight Foreskin?

 What is Phimosis / Tight Foreskin?
Phimosis describes a condition in which the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head or glans of the penis.

Most cases of phimosis resolve before adolescence, but it’s possible for the condition to last into adulthood. Although there aren’t any serious health complications related to phimosis, it’s associated with conditions that can cause soreness, swelling and difficulty urinating.

Causes of Tight Foreskin

Phimosis only affects uncircumcised males and is more common in boys than men.

Phimosis is normal in uncircumcised babies and toddlers, as the foreskin is still attached to the glans. It will start to detach naturally between 2 and 6 years of age, though it might happen later. It can happen at up to around 10 years old, in some boys.

If a boy is circumcised, then phimosis isn’t possible.

It is most likely to occur in older boys with:
• repeated urinary tract infections
• foreskin infection
• repeated rough handling of the foreskin
• foreskin trauma

Phimosis may be caused by a skin condition, such as:
Eczema: A long-term condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry, and cracked.
Psoriasis: This skin condition leads to patches of skin becoming red, flaky, and crusty.
Lichen planus: An itchy rash that can affect different areas of the body. It is not contagious.
Lichen sclerosus: This condition causes scarring on the foreskin that can lead to phimosis. It may be caused by a urinary irritation.

Symptoms

Phimosis does not always lead to symptoms. When it does, however, these may include redness, soreness, or swelling.

A tight foreskin may interfere with the normal passage of urine. In severe cases, this can prevent the person from emptying their bladder fully.

Symptoms of balanitis include:
• soreness, itchiness, and odor
• redness and swelling
• a buildup of thick fluid
• pain when urinating During sex, phimosis may cause pain, skin splitting, or a lack of sensation. Wearing a condom and using lubricant can make intercourse more comfortable.

Diagnosis

A doctor will take a full history from the person, asking about any previous penis infection or injuries they might have had. They may also inquire about the impact of any symptoms on sexual activity. A physical examination will include them looking at the penis and foreskin.

The doctor may order urine tests to check for urine infections
Phimosis is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Adults presenting with a tight foreskin may be given blood and urine tests to check their blood sugar levels, as a result.

Prevention

It’s important to clean your penis regularly to avoid problems developing.

You should:
Gently wash your penis with warm water each day while having a bath or shower
Gently pull back your foreskin (if you have one) and wash underneath; do not pull back the foreskin of a baby or young boy because it could be painful and cause harm
Use a mild or non-perfumed soap (if you choose to use soap) to reduce the risk of skin irritation
Avoid using talc and deodorants on your penis as they may cause irritation Circumcised men should also regularly clean their penis with warm water and a mild soap.

Summary

A tight foreskin can cause discomfort during intercourse, difficulty with urination, and a greater risk of infections. But with successful treatment, those symptoms may disappear completely. Talk to your doctor about your options. In some cases, topical medications may be all you need.
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