Phimosis is a narrowing of the foreskin which can have varying degrees of severity, and makes it difficult and very painful to fully and independently uncover the glans.
The inelastic scar that forms hinders the free movement of the foreskin, making not only having sex very painful, but also normal daily hygiene operations.
Attempting to force the foreskin over the glans to overcome this tears the skin and causes more scarring, which leads to worsening of the phimotic state.
Types of phimosis
Phimosis can have a dual origin. We refer in fact to congenital phimosis and acquired phimosis.
In congenital phimosis, a narrowing of the foreskin is present from birth or develops a few years thereafter. In the early years of life, the phimosis is referred to as “physiological,” with glans / foreskin adhesions that are generally overcome by growth or via small atraumatic dilations of the prepuce.
In many cases, a solution can be achieved with appropriate exercises that allow the foreskin to recover its elasticity.
There are however, several schools of thought about congenital phimosis among paediatricians. The important thing is to always follow what your doctor indicates, never force the situation.
Acquired phimosis, however, occurs in adulthood and is the result of a disabling inflammation of the foreskin (balanoposthitis) caused by microbial agents (bacteria and / or fungi) that medical treatments can resolve. After infections are resolved, however, a narrowing and preputial scarring often remains, which is referred to as phimosis.
In addition, depending on the degree of severity, you may hear types of phimosis referred to as tight or non-tight.
Non-tight phimosis refers to the less severe form, since the glans can still be partially uncovered. There is therefore still a partial sliding of the foreskin.
In these cases, an immediate solution for the phimosis is recommended, to prevent the possible emergence of a paraphimosis. If, especially during sexual intercourse, the foreskin slides to the base of the glans, the scar ring could turn into a “loop” that can squeeze into the lower groove of the glans penis, and prevent the return of the foreskin. Paraphimosis requires urgent action to prevent this situation arising, as it prevents the outflow of blood from the glans.
Tight phimosis is the most severe type. With tight phimosis, it is impossible to uncover the glans, even with a flaccid penis. In this condition, the foreskin cannot slide freely, which prevents correct glans hygiene, and may cause difficulties with urination and prevent normal sexual relations.
Impairments due to phimosis include those:
of a personal hygiene nature, due to the difficulty of accessing the glans;
of a sexual nature, because it makes all sexual activity painful and often hinders urination too;
of a health nature, due to the recurrence of injuries subject to reinfection and new scarring. There is also the risk it will develop into a paraphimosis (strangling of the glans)
of a psychological nature, because it disrupts normal sexual relations by making the use of lubricants or condoms essential for soothing the pain
A diagnosis of phimosis is often made by the patient himself, who observes narrowing of his foreskin. Depending on the degree of phimosis, this shrinkage can vary, and clinical observation is therefore essential. And it is always advisable to consult a doctor to assess the case.
Symptoms related (but not exclusive) to phimosis may be:
- Penile pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Erectile dysfunction
- Urine retention
- Skin ulcers
- Urethral itching
Phimosis is an anatomical impairment and cannot be defined as a disease or pathology. Complications arising from these characteristics are therefore all those diseases to which phimosis gives ideal conditions to thrive. It therefore increases the risk of balanitis (inflammation or infection of the glans), posthitis (inflammation or infection of the foreskin) and balanoposthitis (inflammation or infection of the glans and foreskin of the inner membrane). The onset of these diseases may be due to stagnation of smegma and urine in the penis, caused by the phimosis and the inability to maintain proper hygiene.
If not properly treated, the degeneration of these diseases can lead to painful calcifications of the foreskin.
Finally, men suffering from phimosis seem to be more predisposed towards genital infections, and even rare forms of cancer, like cancer of the penis.
Treatment of phimosis
To eliminate the phimosis the only solution – before the invention of Phimostop – was surgical, because medical therapies based on antibiotic and /or anti-inflammatory creams for local use are only adequate for resolving inflammations, not the phimosis.
In practice, the foreskin, plus the inelastic ring of scar tissue, was removed during a surgical circumcision.
All this happened until of course, the invention of Phimostop; this makes recourse to surgical circumcision unnecessary.