December 8th, 2017
Phimosis is a condition that is characterized by very tight foreskin that makes it difficult to pull it back over the head or glans of penis. Most babies have phimosis at the time of birth, which means that you cannot retract the foreskin over the glans or head of penis – at least for the first few years of the post-natal life.
The detachment of foreskin from the glans of penis usually begins around the age of 2 years, but may be delayed up to 6 – 10 years or later in some cases.
In adults, phimosis is uncommon and may be associated with an infection or disease and may present with a variety of symptoms.
Phimosis is almost always seen in uncircumcised males only. This condition usually affects younger males and is less common in adult men. According to clinical data, in about 50% toddlers, foreskin cam be manually retracted or pulled over the glans manually in 1-year old babies. In about 90% cases, foreskin can be easily retracted in babies over 3 years of age. In teenagers between 16 to 18 years, the prevalence of phimosis is less than 1%.
Following risk factors are usually implicated in the pathogenesis of phimosis:
In older men, rough handling of foreskin/ penis or history of recurring sexually transmitted infections can lead to phimosis.
Other risk factors include:
Phimosis is not always symptomatic. In symptomatic cases, people often complain if theres swelling, redness and soreness. In extremely severe cases, a tight foreskin may interfere with the urination and may ultimately result in the incomplete evacuation of the bladder.
In poorly managed severe cases of phimosis, affected males may develop balanitis (inflammation of penile shaft) or even balanoposthitis (inflammation of both foreskin and glans). The risk of developing both of these conditions is fairly high in people with poor hygiene.
You should suspect balanitis if you are experiencing following symptoms:
Phimosis can also make sexual intercourse painful and may even cause splitting of skin or poor sensation. Use of lubricants or wearing condoms may improve the sensation and overall outcome.
Phimosis is usually diagnosed on physical examination. Your doctor may ask you a variety of questions regarding your medical and past history to ascertain the cause. If your doctor is suspecting an infection to be the cause of phimosis, they may carry out a variety of tests to confirm.
How to treat phimosis?
Phimosis can be treated by medical or surgical techniques. If an infection is causing phimosis, appropriate antibiotics is all you need. In most complicated cases of phimosis, surgical intervention such as circumcision may be needed.
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