Tight Foreskin: Causes, Treatment, Prevention
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Tight Foreskin: Causes, Treatment, Prevention

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What is a Tight Foreskin?

Tight Foreskin or also known as phimosis is a medical condition that is common to uncircumcised males. It occurs when the male’s foreskin or prepuce is not able to retract fully from the head of the genital or glans. If there is flaccid retraction it is termed partial phimosis and it is termed full phimosis if there is no retraction at all. 

Other people would medically define it as the perpetual ring undergoing stenosis or tightness. In a layman’s language, the foreskin becomes tight and cannot be pulled back for the glands to be disclosed. 

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How phimosis affects lovemaking life?

Many men in India suffer from phimosis, a condition often associated with peni that have not been circumcised. If you have phimosis, you can't see behind you because your foreskin is blocking your vision. In extreme cases, para-phimosis might develop if phimosis is not treated. Patients should not pull the foreskin with force since doing so might create small injuries and scarring, making it much more difficult to pull the foreskin back. This condition is called pathological or acquired phimosis. Paraphimosis may also be caused by the foreskin becoming entangled and forming a constricting ring around the genital. Because of the decreased blood supply to the genital caused by paraphimosis, getting an erection strong enough to penetrate the vagina is a challenge. For immediate medical intervention, paraphimosis is considered a medical emergency.

What are the causes of tight foreskin or phimosis?

Phimosis or tight foreskin can be either physiologic or pathologic.

Physiologic phimosis

This describes a foreskin that is tight from birth and this condition usually resolves by age 6 or 7.

Pathologic phimosis

Pathologic phimosis is usually caused by:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Scarring

Conditions that might cause pathologic phimosis include:

Balanitis

Balanitis or inflammation of the head of the genital can lead to a tight foreskin, painful urination, and several other symptoms. Some people will also see a thick discharge beneath their foreskin.

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Balanoposthitis

Balanoposthitis is a situation when both the glans and foreskin are inflamed. Several types of infections are the possible cause of balanoposthitis, including the yeast infection known as Candidiasis.

Infections might also lead to scarring, which can contribute to the further tightness of the foreskin.

STIs

Some transmitted infections can cause inflammation of the glans, which might lead to tightness and discomfort. Common STIs that might be responsible for tightness of the foreskin include:

  • Genital herpes
  • Gonorrhoea
  • Syphilis
  • Skin conditions

Some skin conditions that might cause or worsen your symptoms are:

  • Eczema is a common condition that leads to dry and scaly patches on the skin.
  • Lichen planus is a rash characterised by shiny, flat bumps.
  • Lichen sclerosis is a condition that causes white patches to form on the foreskin and glans. It can also cause scarring on the foreskin.
  • Psoriasis is a chronic condition characterized by crusty, dry patches of skin.

Age

As you age, it may lead to the development of phimosis. As skin loses its elasticity, it can become stiffer and less pliable.

What are the Causes of Paraphimosis?

Physical injuries to the genital like injuries sustained in contact sports might cause Para phimosis.

Para phimosis might be caused by:

  • Phimosis
  • Infection
  • Physical trauma to your genital
  • Pulling the foreskin back for extended periods
  • Pulling the foreskin back too roughly

Para phimosis can also occur when a medical expert fails to return the foreskin into position after an examination or procedure.

What are the symptoms of the tight foreskin?

Some commonly observed symptoms are associated with this condition and are symptoms that are commonly manifested by a person having this medical condition including the following:

  • Foreskin Bulges
  • Urinating is difficult
  • Pain
  • Your genital’ tip is swollen
  • There is an inability to pull back the foreskin

Symptoms that indicate a serious condition includes:

  • High Fever
  • Unable to urinate
  • Unable to reposition the foreskin
  • Discoloured or bruising of the foreskin
  • Tenderness

Tight Foreskin Diagnosis

To diagnose tight foreskin or phimosis, the physician will usually need:

  • Medical History
  • P.E or Physical Examination
  • Swab test that is done to confirm or test for any prevailing infection

Tight foreskin home solution and Other Treatment Options

The way a tight foreskin is treated depends on its cause and severity. In a few cases, no treatment is required. But if a tight foreskin causes any symptoms, you must consult your doctor about your treatment options. 

Taking Hot Shower

While having a hot bath or shower, you may also massage your foreskin. The hot water helps to relax the skin and makes stretching easier. Combining stretching in the water with steroid phimosis cream can allow you to completely retract your foreskin sooner.

Exercises

You should gently pull back and reposition the foreskin as a therapy and preventative strategy. This should be done while cleaning the genital which starts at a very young age.

Be careful not to pull back the foreskin that is still adhered to the glans. If you are unsure of whether the foreskin is still attached or whether it is safe to pull back, you must consult your doctor. You should never forcefully retract the foreskin.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication

Over-the-counter corticosteroid phimosis cream and ointments like hydrocortisone can be effective for many skin conditions that cause or worsen phimosis. Even though there are no other conditions present, your doctor might recommend using topical steroids on your foreskin.

Massaging the ointment into your foreskin and manually retracting the skin twice per day might help make the foreskin more supple. Pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) might also be helpful, depending on the types of symptoms.

Surgery

A surgical option may be necessary if other treatments are not effective for the tight foreskin issue. Your options will typically include:

1. Circumcision:

This is the surgical removal of all or part of your foreskin. Even though circumcision is typically done during infancy, it can also be done at any age. It is usually recommended for cases where males are experiencing severe phimosis or chronic foreskin infection.

2. Preputioplasty:

This procedure includes the cutting and stretching of the foreskin. It is a less comprehensive surgery than circumcision. It is an option for men who still want the appearance of an uncircumcised genital.

3. Frenuloplasty:

Just like preputioplasty, a frenuloplasty involves the surgical cutting of your foreskin on the underside of the genital. This will loosen the foreskin enough to make it easily retractable.

As with any surgery, these procedures might carry a slight risk of bleeding and infection.

Take Away

In most males, a tight foreskin will resolve before their adulthood. Other cases of phimosis that persist into adulthood might cause pain, discomfort during lovemaking act, increased risk of any infection or difficulty urinating.

If these symptoms are present at any age, it is essential to consult a doctor. In particular, Para phimosis requires prompt medical attention to prevent further complications.

There are many treatment options available that can successfully resolve both phimosis and Para phimosis. If you want to prevent tightness of the foreskin, you must practice good hygiene and stretching techniques.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is Vaseline good for tight foreskin? 

Yes! Soft vaseline applied beneath the foreskin promotes genital skin healing.

2. Does foreskin tighten with age? 

Yes! Foreskin tightens with age.

3. What is the fastest way to get rid of a tight foreskin?

Use a topical steroid lotion to soften and massage the foreskin, making it easier to retract.

References:

1. Aditya Raja, Ian Perry, Hrishi B Joshi, Oct 2016, Tight foreskin

2. Balanitis - WebMD

3. 6 Penis Disorders: Symptoms and When to See a Doctor - WebMD

4. Hydrocortisone Powder - Uses, Side Effects, and More - WebMD