There are so many factors that weigh into why parents will choose to circumcise their son as a newborn, for example, religious reasons or perhaps it comes medically recommended. However, later on in life, the most common reason is to treat medical conditions. The most common medical issue resulting in circumcision is phimosis.
What is Phimosis?
Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin on the penis does not retract properly, typically due to adhesions or scarring. Phimosis, also known as tight foreskin, is when the foreskin cannot be pulled back from the shaft or glans (head) of the penis. In other words, the foreskin doesn’t retract. If left untreated, it can cause painful urination, hygiene problems, and can contribute to painful erections, UTIs and even complete urinary retention.
How do we treat phimosis?
There are a number of ways to treat phimosis and its related conditions. Once your doctor has examined your penis, antibiotics may be prescribed. If infected, steroid cream is typically a great way to improve elasticity of the foreskin, which in turn will allow the foreskin to retract properly.
What about circumcision?
Should the phimosis become bothersome or severe, another option is circumcision. Circumcision is the surgical procedure that removes the foreskin entirely. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should consider seeing your doctor. It’s important to note that intervention for phimosis can be at any age.
- Scars at on the head of the foreskin
- Episodes of paraphimosis
- Chronic balanitis (swelling and inflammation)
- Symptoms of urinary retention
- Erection is difficult or painful
Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin is so tight that once it is pulled off the glans, it cannot be put back to the original position. One treatment for paraphimosis is to try to force the foreskin back by applying pressure to reduce the swelling. Sometimes, a little surgical procedure might be needed. Paraphimosis is in fact a minor emergency. See your doctor.
What else should I know?
Although it is normal for young boys to have foreskin that is not fully retracted, should the foreskin not retract on its own as the child matures, it’s important to both pay close attention to your body (or child’s body) and be seen by a medical professional.
As adults, treatment can provide much needed relief for men suffering from overly tight foreskin. Alleviating the symptoms commonly associated with phimosis will see tremendous improvement in your overall comfort. And, although many men might flinch at the mention of circumcision, the Steinberg Urology approach, quick and virtually pain-free. Call or email today for a consultation.