Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin cannot be retracted from the head of the penis (known as the glans) resulting in a tight ring over the tip of the penis.

Types of Phimosis

  • Physiological phimosis can be found in children and usually resolves around 3-7 years of age
  • Pathologic phimosis can occur as a result of infection, inflammation or scarring at the foreskin

Click to view PhimoMed video on Phimosis


  • Forceful foreskin retraction can lead to bleeding or scarring
  • Smegma (white deposits of dead skin cells) under the foreskin
  • Ballooning of the foreskin during urination
  • Inflammation of the glans (balanitis)
  • Pain during erection or intercourse
Image credit Tua Saude

Care of Phimosis in Children

There is no special care required during infancy and the foreskin should NOT be forcibly retracted. Gentle retraction with cleansing (with mild or non-perfumed soap) under the foreskin should be sufficient and the foreskin should be pulled back over the glans penis and returned to the normal position.  Avoid using talcum powder or deodorants on the penis.


Treatment is not required in most cases as they resolve with time as the foreskin loosens as the child grows older.  Treatment is required if there is;

1. Medication using topical steroid ointment with manual stretching of the foreskin twice daily for 6-8 weeks can help improve the condition

  • Persistent ballooning of the foreskin during urination
  • Recurrent inflammation of the glans (known as balanitis)
  • Pain when the foreskin stays retracted and cannot return to the original position (paraphimosis)

2. Surgery using circumcision is required if the condition does not resolve

Discuss with a Urologist or Paediatric Surgeon about your condition

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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