Phimosis – Symptoms
A typical indicator of phimosis is how the tip of the penis looks. Phimosis generally looks like a thick rubber band of skin at the head of the penis.
In adults, phimosis causes inflammation and painful urination and can even lead to bleeding or infection.
Infections due to phimosis are indicated by:
- Rashes on the foreskin
- Pain combined with swelling and itchiness
- Change in colour of the foreskin
Another common symptom of phimosis is a swollen foreskin when urinating.
Phimosis is more common in baby boys below the age of 3.
Phimosis – Causes
Adult phimosis is caused by infections – most commonly balanitis or posthitis which occur due to not cleaning under the foreskin regularly or effectively. Phimosis is also one of the early symptoms of diabetes.
Genetic reasons cause phimosis in baby boys. Genetically linked phimosis can resolve itself by the time the child reaches 5-7 years of age. Phimosis can start causing trouble if the foreskin is forcibly pulled back and is scarred or harmed in the process. It even makes the foreskin even harder to pull back later.
Phimosis – Diagnosis
Any general surgeon or urologist can quickly identify and diagnose treatment for phimosis on general examination of the penis and underlying symptoms of the patient.
Phimosis – Treatment
The treatment for phimosis depends on the severity of the symptoms associated with it. Circumcision is the most effective way of treating phimosis both in adults and children.
- Circumcision – Circumcision is a safe and effective way of treating phimosis in which a part of the foreskin or the complete foreskin is removed through a short-duration surgery.
- In a partial circumcision, the surgeon removes only the tight part of the foreskin or keeps the foreskin and simply widens it.
- However, in a partial circumcision, the chances of recurrence of phimosis due to retightening of the remaining foreskin remain. This is not the case in a full circumcision.
The operation is usually carried out under general anaesthesia for children and local anaesthesia for adults.
- Non-Surgical ways of treating phimosis – Phimosis can be treated using topical steroid creams which help in stretching the foreskin. The cream needs to be applied 2 times a day over 3-4 weeks. After two weeks, the foreskin can be gradually pushed back till it doesn’t hurt once a day. However, this process has its limitations and has been known to treat phimosis in 44 out of 100 children on an average.
Practicing good penis hygiene – cleaning below the foreskin on a regular basis and effectively can help prevent phimosis.
Phimosis – Risks & Complications
Complications in circumcision surgeries are rare. A very small percentage of boys or men undergoing circumcision develop bruising on the penis which goes away on its own after a while. In an even smaller percentage, complications like bleeding, inflammation of the surgical wound and curving of the penis may occur which may require further treatment.
Circumcision does not generally affect sex life. However, if the treatment is done as an adult, circumcision may lead to delayed ejaculation in certain cases.
Phimosis – Pre Op Care
- Clean your genitals and surrounding area properly. The hospital staff will perform pre-operating cleaning using a disinfecting soap or cleanser.
- Wear clothing / underwear which does not restrict your genital area
- Do not apply any moisturiser / deodorant / lotions on the day of your treatment
Phimosis – Post Op Care
- The wound due to surgery needs to heal properly. For this, the doctor may prescribe topical creams. The doctor will also give specific instructions on how to care for the incision and lessen the pain
- Moderate to low physical activity is recommended depending on your comfort
- Strenuous activities should be avoided such as weight lifting or jogging at least for a period of 4 weeks
- Typically, sexual activity should be avoided for at least 6 weeks following the procedure
- You should get in touch with your doctor if your pain increases, there is bleeding in the wound or you have trouble urinating