Under normal conditions, one can pull the skin back fully though it may be tight just behind the glans. However, a condition is worrisome if one is not able to pull it behind the head of the penis. In most cases, it would cause pain while having sex, but in some more severe instances, it may even cause issues when peeing.
There are two kinds of phimosis, physiological and pathological. Phimosis is present naturally during childhood, but it resolves with age. Things gradually become better with puberty. However, in some, it fails to resolve and instead may become even tighter, causing significant distress.
Not a rare condition
The foreskin is quite tight when a male child is born and starts loosening only from the second year of age. By the age of about six, it has completely separated from the penis head. Studies show that about 1% of adults may suffer from the condition, though it is mild in most cases. Here it is vital to understand that phimosis may also affect children and teenagers.
Symptoms of phimosis
It is rarely causes severe problems while urinating, but it may cause issues when having sex. Some of the signs and symptoms of phimosis are:
- Redness and discolouration of the foreskin which occurs due to irritation or infection
- Swelling or inflammation due to stress caused during sex, or even due to infection
- In some cases, pain while urinating
- Pain with penile erection or during sexual activity
Do note, in those with a tight foreskin, there is always a greater risk of various infections and inflammatory changes occuring in the foreskin. However, the most prominent cause of seeking medical attention is pain during sexual activity or severe inflammation after sex.
Causes of phimosis
In many cases, there might not be any identifiable cause, and it could be just an anatomical peculiarity of that individual. However, in some, it may develop secondary to certain disease conditions like:
- Poor hygiene causing frequent local infections may lead to the formation of connective tissues and tightening of the foreskin. Moreover, in those with phimosis cleaning the penis head may be challenging, and this further worsens the condition.
- Dermatological conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or lichen sclerosus may affect the genital in some cases, thus tightening the foreskin.
- Infections like sexually transmitted diseases cause local inflammation, scarring, and thus tightening of the foreskin.
Diagnosis and management of Phimosis
The condition is relatively simple to diagnose. Most doctors may diagnose the conditions even based on patients’ history. Nevertheless, a physical examination would be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
However, that is not all, as a doctor’s job is not just to diagnose the condition but also to identify its causes and prevent its reoccurrence. Thus, a doctor may ask for some tests to exclude various infections and chronic ailments.
The first aim of the treatment is to overcome local pain, inflammation, and infection. Thus, doctors may prescribe antiseptic creams, antibiotics, and steroid creams. Once the acute inflammation has been overcome, doctors would generally suggest a patient to stretch their foreskin regularly by pulling it back. In most cases, the condition can be managed through stretching exercises.
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