Phimosis: All You Need To Know
Phimosis is not a chronic condition and can be cured medically or naturally. It is generally caused due to conditions like inflammation of the foreskin or skin of the head of the penis.
Phimosis is a condition in which foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back
- Phimosis is of 2 types: Physiological phimosis and Pathological phimosis
- Phimosis could also be caused by sexually transmitted infections
- Symptoms of phimosis include redness, soreness
What is Phimosis?
Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin of the penis is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis (glans). It usually occurs with uncircumcised baby boys. This condition usually stops around the age of 3. The glans and the foreskin stay connected initially but they start to retract naturally without any treatment between 3 to 6 years of age. This can take place due to poor hygiene. This penis disorder is of two types:
Physiological phimosis: When a baby boy is born with a tight foreskin and separation occurs at a later age.
Pathological phimosis: This is caused due to infection, inflammation or scarring on the penis in adult men.
What are the causes of Phimosis?
Phimosis is caused due to conditions like inflammation of the foreskin or skin of the head of the penis (balanitis). A person having phimosis might experience swelling in the penis with difficulty in urination. It can also occur when the foreskin is retracted forcibly which can cause scarring and can be harmful to the skin. Phimosis can be the result of infections on the foreskin or in the urinary tract. This could also be caused by sexually transmitted infections. Uncontrolled diabetes may also give rise to this condition because of the presence of a high amount of glucose in the urine, which can lead to infection on the foreskin of the penis.
Also read: Rash On The Penis? Here's What It Could Mean
What are the symptoms of phimosis?
This condition is generally not characterized with many symptoms. However, some basic symptoms of phimosis include redness, soreness, or swelling on the penis. The major symptom of phimosis is balanitis which can be identified by itchiness, odor and a buildup of thick fluid in the penile area. Some people may experience pain while urinating as well. The foreskin may even have white spots or patches.
What is are the treatment options for phimosis?
Generally, phimosis does not need any treatment since the non-retractable foreskin, retracts naturally during puberty. However, balanitis which is the leading cause of phimosis can be treated with good hygiene. Medical treatments like ointments can also help the foreskin to retract easily and reduce swelling and soreness. If the condition continues to persist due to fungal infections, doctors might recommend tests and prescribe required antibiotics.
Some severe cases of phimosis might need a surgical circumcision. Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis by a medical expert. Surgical methods might prove helpful for complete removal of the skin and may even reduce tightness of the foreskin.
Phimosis is not a chronic condition and can be cured naturally or medically. The removal of the foreskin is a natural development in males but it needs to be treated if it does not happen on its own despite hitting puberty. It can be diagnosed by testing a swab of the foreskin for the presence of any bacteria or for urine infections. It is treatable and can be reversed by maintaining good hygiene. However, it can be uncomfortable and painful which can be the cue to get medical attention when the symptoms get severe.
(Dr Ashish Kumar Mittal is a consultant psychiatrist in Columbia Asia hospital and Confidence Clinic Gurgaon)
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