Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin can’t be retracted (pulled back) from around the tip of the penis. This problem can make urinating painful and can also cause recurrent infections of the foreskin.


When you are born, the foreskin of the penis is mostly attached to the glans penis. During its growth, the foreskin cannot be retracted. In some boys, this problem can be left until puberty, which is not something you have to worry about as long as it does not cause any problems. The foreskin is usually dilated during puberty because the body’s hormones make the foreskin more elastic and stretchable. If this doesn’t happen, you get a foreskin constriction. The tip of the foreskin can also be too narrow to pass over the glans penis.


If the foreskin can’t be pulled back from around the tip of your penis, you have too narrow a foreskin, which can make masturbation and intercourse impossible. Urinating can also become painful. It can also lead to recurrent infections. It is also common for the foreskin to get stuck just behind the glans penis, which affects blood circulation and can cause the glans penis and foreskin to swell.

Prevention and protection

Preventing the symptoms of phimosis relies on good hygiene. Gently cleaning the penis and under the foreskin, with warm water, every day, will help avoid problems. This will facilitate keeping the skin loose and avoiding infection.


Treatment depends on the cause and severity of phimosis. Sometimes no treatment is required. But if this state causes symptoms, you should seek care. You can try to pull back and move the foreskin, but do it carefully. Corticosteroid creams and ointments may help make the foreskin more supple, which makes it easier to retract. Surgery can be an option, if other treatments aren’t effective. Then so-called circumcision is done.

When to consult a doctor

If you feel that your foreskin is so tight that it causes you discomfort, you should seek care, whether you have reached puberty or not. In cases when your penis becomes trapped behind the glans penis, and cannot be reduced (pulled back to its normal flaccid position covering the glans), it is important to seek immediate care.

How APPOTEK can help

You can get advice from our doctors at APPOTEK about phimosis. We can assess if you need a referral for further treatment or prescription of medicines.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.