Exact figures are difficult to come by, but doctors in the UK believe phimosis is a surprisingly common condition. The problem is that due to embarrassment or a lack of understanding, many patients fail to come forward to report issues with a tight foreskin.
Phimosis can occur at any age and the discomfort of a tight foreskin can be significant. However, it is almost always possible to treat any case of phimosis, without resorting to surgery. The market for phimosis products designed for painless foreskin stretching is growing all the time – many of which have earned the full recommendation of doctors.
Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know when and where to seek medical advice, without first building a better understanding of the condition itself.
What is Phimosis?
Phimosis is the medical term for an abnormally tight foreskin, which cannot comfortably be withdrawn from the head of the penis. In some instances, it may be so tight that it cannot be drawn back at all.
What Are the Symptoms of Phimosis?
If it is not possible to draw back the foreskin comfortably, you may be suffering from phimosis. It could also be that your foreskin and/or penis are generally uncomfortable, due to the tightness of the foreskin. The pain and discomfort associated with phimosis tend to be particularly pronounced when the penis is erect.
Is Phimosis a Dangerous Condition?
For the most part, phimosis isn’t necessarily considered dangerous. However, it has the potential to become progressively more painful if left unaddressed. In addition, phimosis can make it difficult to maintain good hygiene, which can subsequently increase the likelihood of infection. In some cases, the tightness of the foreskin can increase the risk of paraphimosis, where the foreskin becomes stuck behind the glans, resulting in reduced blood flow, which must be dealt with at the earliest possible stage.
Who is at Risk of Phimosis?
The vast majority of cases of phimosis occur and are detected during later childhood. This is because the foreskin is attached to the glans as a child, but after about three years should naturally detach. As the child grows older, the foreskin will usually retract to an extent that exposes the glans beneath. It subsequently becomes easier to draw back the foreskin partially, though the foreskin can remain partly attached to the glans until after puberty.
By which time, it should be possible to fully draw back the foreskin without pain or discomfort. If not, treatment may be required. Technically speaking, therefore, all males are at risk of phimosis, but it is more likely to manifest at a younger age.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Phimosis?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal that can be done to reduce the risk of phimosis occurring. It is simply a developmental issue affecting the penis, which cannot be predicted and therefore cannot be prevented with any amount of effectiveness. It is theorized that by keeping the penis clean, you inherently reduce the likelihood of phimosis-related complications. However, this does not necessarily eliminate the prospect of the condition occurring.
When Should I See a Doctor?
As with all potential medical issues, the time to speak to a doctor is the moment you feel any amount of concern. If you have been experiencing any pain or discomfort whatsoever, it is advisable to speak to an expert as soon as possible. The longer a case of phimosis is left unaddressed, the more difficult it becomes to treat.
What Are the Main Treatment Options?
As an alternative to traditional surgical procedures like circumcision, there are now various foreskin stretching devices available. These expert-recommended phimosis products can be surprisingly effective, using a gentle stretching action to loosen the foreskin, with absolutely no pain or discomfort.
If in any doubt, speak to your doctor to discuss the various phimosis treatment options available.