It may look like a rubber band around the tip of your son’s penis. And it may or may not be painful. Phimosis may be present if your son has difficulty retracting the foreskin of his penis.

What is Phimosis?

This condition is a tightness of the foreskin of the penis. It prevents the foreskin from retracting as it should. In uncircumcised males, the foreskin normally covers the head of the penis, but is retracted for urination or sexual activity. With phimosis, the foreskin can’t retract normally. Some degree of phimosis is common and normal in young boys.

What are the symptoms of Phimosis?

The following may occur:

  • Erections cause pain
  • Debris collects under the foreskin
  • Inflammation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Foreskin is red, white, scarred, or bleeding

What causes Phimosis?

Phimosis is usually congenital, meaning it occurs before birth. The foreskin typically loosens in time. When it does not, we refer to this as phimosis.

How is Phimosis diagnosed?

What to know before your child’s visit to Michigan Institute of Urology in Southeast Michigan:

Phimosis is almost always a clinical diagnosis, made on physical examination. Depending on the circumstance, these additional tests may be performed.

  • Urinalysis: This test evaluates for any blood in the urine or infection.
  • Post-void residual: The physician will often ask the child to void and then check to make sure the bladder is emptying completely.

How is Phimosis treated?

Several options exist for treating phimosis. Treatment options often include:

  • Retracting and cleaning: Using gentle soap and warm water, retracting and cleaning the foreskin regularly can help to reduce infection. Be sure to return the foreskin to its normal position afterwards.
  • Steroid creams: These can be used in combination with careful cleaning of the foreskin to help correct the phimosis.
  • Circumcision: Surgically removing the foreskin of the penis will correct the phimosis. However, we take patient preference very seriously and do our best to avoid circumcision if it is avoidable and is what the family prefers. Infant circumcisions can usually be done in the physician’s office if the baby is younger than 8 weeks. Otherwise, sedation in the operating room is necessary.
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