There are a variety of reasons why adults or older boys may choose to be circumcised, including cosmetic and medical reasons. A medical problem that may result in the need for circumcision is phimosis.
What is Phimosis and what causes it?
Phimosis is a term used to describe a tight foreskin that cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis. Whilst the foreskin may pull back when the penis is flaccid, it may be too tight to fold back when the penis is erect. Over time, the foreskin may become tighter as any trauma when the penis is erect may lead to some scarring, further reducing the elasticity of the skin.
Whilst phimosis can be physiologic, there can be be a number of causes, particularly sexually transmitted infections, and skin conditions such as:
- Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO) – symptoms of BXO are itching and sometimes cracks in the skin, which can lead to some bleeding. BXO can lead the skin to scar and tighten, making it difficult to retract the foreskin.
- Eczema – in some cases, phimosis may be caused by long term skin problems such as Eczema.
- Lichen planus – Lichen planus is a non-infectious skin problem that can affect the foreskin, leading to phimosis.
In order to prevent skin issues that may lead to tightness of the foreskin, it’s important to clean the penis and foreskin properly when you bathe or shower. This helps to prevent infection.
Treatment for phimosis depends on a number of factors, including the age of the patient, and the seriousness of the problem.
Steroid creams or ointment may be recommended in cases where there is some trouble in retracting the foreskin. If the phimosis is linked to an infection, further treatment such as antibiotics or antifungal cream may be needed. It is also recommended that daily cleaning is important, washing away the normal secretion of smegma.
When a higher degree of phimosis is experienced, or infections such as balanitis are recurrent, then a surgical approach may be needed. Circumcision removes the foreskin, and therefore prevents problems with tightness, as well as making it easier to ensure that the head of the penis is kept clean to prevent infection.
Another case where circumcision may be required is if a tight foreskin is stuck behind the head of the penis – this is known as paraphimosis and requires urgent treatment.
If you suffer from phimosis and circumcision is the most suitable treatment for you, you can contact Modality Circumcision Service today by calling 0121 250 0386. Our clinical team have carried out over ten thousand circumcisions in patients of all age groups, having trained with leading experts in the UK, Europe and Australia.