Phimosis in Adults: Causes and How to Treat It

Unlike congenital phimosis, which is present from birth, phimosis in adulthood is almost always acquired: it is very rare, in fact, that in the presence of a difficulty or inability to uncover the glans, action is not taken before it manifests in later life.

Adult phimosis can have significant consequences such as difficulties in personal hygiene, potential skin irritation, and impacts on sexual health: uncovering the glans with ease and without pain, in fact, is essential to be able to perform the functions of the penis.

In this article we will look at what causes phimosis in adulthood, related symptoms, and available treatment options.

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Causes of phimosis in adults

As mentioned in the introduction, in the case of congenital phimosis, it is diagnosed during childhood or at the latest in adolescence. If phimosis, on the other hand, occurs in adulthood or later in life, it is almost always acquired and therefore the result of one or more triggering factors.

Here are the main causes of phimosis in adulthood:

  • Injuries: a variety of injuries on the foreskin, due, for example, to rubbing during intercourse or contact with a tissue that causes an allergic reaction, can contribute to phimotic tightening because of scar tissue that hardens and makes the skin inelastic.
  • Skin conditions: a cause of phimosis can also be the onset of skin conditions such as dermatitis, which creates irritation and blisters, or lichen sclerosis, a chronic disease that hardens tissues and deprives them of their stretchability.


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Phimostop is a medical device consisting of 22 medical silicone elements designed to help resolve phimosis, a condition in which the foreskin cannot be fully retracted onto the glans of the penis.

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  • Infections: infections can be responsible for the formation of phimosis even in old age as they create inflammation and irritation that is followed by scarring. Infections that lead to phimosis are, in particular, balanitis (at the glans) and balanoposthitis (glans and foreskin), which manifest as itching, pain, and red patches. Recognizing and treating them in time can limit the risks of incurring both forms of phimosis, tight and non-tight.

Difference between acquired and congenital phimosis

As mentioned earlier, most cases of phimosis in adulthood are referred to as acquired phimosis. The difference between acquired and congenital phimosis lies in the origin of this condition and its circumstances of development. 

Congenital phimosis is present from birth and occurs when the foreskin is narrower and cannot be retracted completely over the tip of the glans. In contrast, acquired phimosis can develop later in an individual’s life for a variety of reasons, including inflammation or infection of the foreskin.

Both forms of phimosis can affect sexual health and require different management approaches. Accurate diagnosis of the type of phimosis is critical in determining the most appropriate treatment plan, which can range from conservative interventions to surgical procedures, depending on the circumstances and severity of the condition.

Adult phimosis: possible consequences

Phimosis in adults, if neglected over time, can lead to a number of significant consequences, if degenerating in severe cases.

The narrowing of the foreskin in a tight phimosis, in fact, makes it difficult – not to say impossible – to provide normal and proper intimate hygiene. Which results in the sedimentation of urine residue or smegma within the foreskin and on the glans, which can facilitate fungal or bacterial growth, leading to infectious states.

Another eventuality that can occur is difficulty in urination, which can raise the likelihood of retention in the urethra with associated risks of infection.

In addition, a number of issues regarding the sexual sphere must be taken into account. While it is true that with phimosis, clamped or unclamped, one can have intercourse, it is equally true that they are heavily affected by this condition. Not only does phimosis render an incomplete and painful erection, making intercourse complicated and unfulfilling, but it results in a great risk of procuring injury to the skin or even forcing the uncovering of the glans, which causes paraphimosis.

Paraphimosis is the blockage of the foreskin under the glans after forced lowering, and is a very dangerous condition that should be addressed immediately by seeing a urologist to prevent the choking of the glans from escalating into more serious complications.

How to prevent phimosis in adulthood

Prevention of phimosis in adulthood plays a crucial role in avoiding or greatly reducing the likelihood of this condition occurring. 

First, practicing proper daily hygiene is essential. Adopting habits of thorough cleaning of the genital area can help reduce the risk of irritation and inflammation, which is particularly relevant in adulthood when skin conditions may be more susceptible to complications. In addition, forced and aggressive maneuvers on the foreskin should be avoided, as such practices can cause trauma, scarring and potentially contribute to shrinkage of the foreskin over time.

In addition, consultation with medical professionals is of great importance: if there are symptoms of phimosis in adults, it is critical to seek timely medical advice. Regular examinations, moreover, can facilitate early diagnosis and the implementation of preventive measures or appropriate treatment, helping to minimize the impact of phimosis on general and sexual health in adulthood.

How to treat phimosis in adults

In the presence of phimosis in adults, it is very important to avoid do-it-yourself remedies: phimosis is a medical condition that requires careful evaluation by specialists, and self-diagnosis or attempted self-treatment can lead to errors in the management of the condition, risking worsening the situation or causing additional damage.

Therefore, targeted and effective intervention should be considered, varying according to the severity of the condition and associated symptoms.

  • Minor degree phimosis: in cases of minor phimosis, local products such as steroid cream for phimosis in adults, anti-inflammatory ointments or ointments are often recommended, whose action counteracts the inflammatory process and aids in the recovery of proper skin elasticity. 
  • Major phimosis: In tight phimosis, however, traditional therapy consists of partial or total circumcision. Depending on the type of operation, the foreskin is partially or completely removed to allow exposure of the glans. It should be kept in mind that this choice may require long time – even convalescence – and significant costs, as well as the need to be absent from work or sports activities.

But are there phimosis treatments for adults without circumcision surgery? Thanks to Phimostop, a medical device consisting of 22 medical silicone elements designed to help treat phimosis, it is possible to act without surgery. This device may be advisable in both minor and major forms and when the patient is strongly leaning toward avoiding surgery. 

Phimostop, by dilating the epidermal tissue, acts directly on the affected area, blocking the progression of phimosis and improving the quality of sexual life. It is minimally invasive, accessible to all, and is available online and in pharmacies without a prescription.

Phimostop represents the only medical device approved by the Italian Ministry of Health for the non-surgical treatment of phimosis.

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