What is Phimosis? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment.

phimosis operation

Phimosis refers to a condition where the foreskin (prepuce) is tight at the opening when pulled back to the penis’ head. It is a common condition in infants and toddlers and can loosen as the child grows naturally by age six.

Symptoms of phimosis.

  • Pain when urinating.
  • The frequency of urination is reduced.
  • The tip of the penis tends to change its color to dark red or blue color due to strain.
  • There is recurrent pain at the tip due to the swelling.
  • Pulling of the foreskin back is strenuous due to the tightness and this may cause a lot of swelling as a result of repeated acts of pulling.


Babies are born with a tight foreskin naturally. With time the foreskin loosens as the baby grows. However, the foreskin should start detaching itself from the tip with time, from age 2 up to age 6. In some cases, it takes up to 10 years for it to loosen. By age 17, the foreskin will have already loosened.

Poor hygiene whereby the penis area is not thoroughly cleaned and dirt. Accumulation of dirt on the area for some time leads to bacteria build-up. This leads to some infections that are alarming to the reproductive system.

Skin conditions such as Eczema and psoriasis. Eczema is a skin condition where the skin is too dry and requires some moisturizing creams to make it smoother. Psoriasis on the other hand refers to scaly parts of the skin. An injury to the penis area may be a leading cause of this condition. Moreover, infections such as STIs which are acquired during or after birth can be a cause of phimosis.


Phimosis diagnosis may be through a physical examination. In some serious cases, one may be required to have some urine tests.

Primary phimosis does not need treatment since a child will eventually outgrow it. However, the condition may need some treatment to manage the severity. Treatment may vary. For instance, a doctor may recommend that a steroid cream be applied to the penis area. Then after about two weeks of using the cream, one is advised to pull the foreskin back as far as you can for it to loosen. Also, a health practitioner would recommend surgery by making a small cut for it to pull back. Circumcision would be recommended in some cases, depending on the severity. This can be a result of the steroid cream not working.

Complications Arising From Phimosis Treatment

So, if not treated early, this condition may cause discomfort in sexual activity in adults or cancer of the penis. Long-term use of steroid creams is not recommended hence circumcision is the best treatment for phimosis. However, with circumcision, there’s bleeding, and there might be a wound infection if not well taken care of. One might have a too long or too short foreskin too. Recovery from circumcision takes up to 14 days. Therefore, it is good to seek the help of a healthcare provider.

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