Men suffering from phimosis have difficulty pulling their foreskin beyond the glans, or head, of the penis, and while this is normal in babies and children, it can sometimes continue into adulthood. Surgery, manual therapies, medications and penis health crèmes are among the treatments available to men suffering from this discomforting medical problem.


The most common symptom experienced in phimosis is a tight foreskin that does not retract past the head or glans of the penis. When the foreskin is pulled back, it can cause discomfort, and may result in paraphimosis where the foreskin cannot be pulled back over the glans again and is stuck. In some cases there may be scarring on the foreskin, inflammation, bleeding or itching, which may indicate an infection or other medical condition that requires diagnosis. Smegma, the appearance of white lumps under the foreskin, may be present as well in some cases, contributing to the problem.


Phimosis is common in male children under three years of age, and does not usually require any form of intervention. At this early age the foreskin can adhere to the glans of the penis, reducing retractability, but boys grow out of this adhesion with age. Pathological phimosis occurs when the retractability of the foreskin is reduced due to an acute or chronic medical condition, such as an infection, inflammation, or damage to the foreskin resulting in scarring. Congenital phimosis is not a result of any medical problem, but simply the presence of a tight or restrictive foreskin from birth that does not loosen as a boy grows into an adult. This is the most common form of phimosis, and the easiest to treat.


Circumcision is the most common treatment performed for cases of phimosis, both as a prevention and as a cure. In addition to total circumcision, partial incisions can also be made into the foreskin to increase retractability. However, according to one study published in Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1989, many unnecessary circumcisions are performed every year on young boys. The foreskin of the penis should not be fully retractable in many males until adolescence or early adulthood, and yet many boys under the age of 5 are being circumcised to prevent phimosis. If you are under the age of 18, it is always best to wait until adulthood before pursuing surgical treatments, as the foreskin develops differently in every man.


In a double-blind randomised trial published in the International Brazilian Journal of Urology in 2011, researchers treated 220 boys suffering from phimosis with two drugs: betamethasone and hyaluronidase. After two months the boys given a combination of betamethasone and hyaluronidase improved by 54%, while those given just betamethasone improved by 40%. Both treatments were more effective than placebo, as well as safe and well-tolerated by subjects.

Manual Therapy

For those wanting to avoid surgery or prescription medications, many doctors recommend a conservative treatment plan involving manually stretching the foreskin. One way of doing this is through masturbation, actively moving the foreskin up and down in a way that mimics sexual intercourse. Over time this gently stretches the skin, and improves the elasticity of the foreskin tissues. Be careful, as rough treatment may causes breakages of the skin and scarring. In addition, doctors have developed a form of balloon catheter, than can manually help to stretch the foreskin. In one trial published in The Chinese Medical Journal in 1991, treatment with balloon catheters cured 512 boys of phimosis after 3-6 months of treatment.

Penis Health Crèmes

Penis health crèmes containing vitamins, minerals, natural oils and botanical extracts may benefit the health of the penis skin by improving moisture content, reducing inflammation, and supporting the healing of the tissues. If you are attempting to manually stretch the foreskin of your penis, under the supervision of a health professional, application of penis health crèmes may support this process. Specialty topical formulas (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) often contain vitamin C for collagen formation, vitamin E as it is the primary antioxidant found in the skin and may reduce scar formation, and vitamin A which supports wound repair.