As researchers continue to debate the risks and benefits of circumcision, more and more parents are choosing to allow their baby boys to retain their natural state. These parents may hope that by teaching their children proper penis health care, these boys can grow up healthy and happy, with all of the bits of skin they were born with. Unfortunately, some men develop phimosis, an uncomfortable condition in which the foreskin doesn't retract as it should. Circumcision is commonly prescribed for this condition, but there are other options men can also consider.

Common Symptoms

Men who have phimosis may have difficulty sustaining an erection as they should, and some men experience difficulty with urination due to skin blockages. Phimosis can occur quite suddenly, alarming men who had never seen anything like this in the past. But some men who have phimosis were born with the condition, and they may not know that anything about their anatomy is considered unusual or somehow harmful. They may have difficulties with their sex lives, but they may place the blame for these issues on their confidence or prowess, not on their anatomy. Doctors or sexual partners may be the first to bring the topic to the attention of these men.

Medical Options

In a full circumcision, the foreskin is removed, allowing the glans to be fully exposed. In a few days, men who have this surgery performed may have no phimosis symptoms at all, and they may be pain free for the first time in a long time. However, a full circumcision can also remove some delicate tissue that contains sensory cells. Some men feel reduced sensations during sex after they go through full circumcisions, and the sensory cells they lose don't ever regrow.

Partial surgeries may provide a middle path. Here, a tiny bit of skin is removed, allowing the foreskin to slide into place and away again without tightening around the head. The healing time is comparable to the time needed by men who have a full circumcision, but much of the sensory loss felt by people who have a full surgery isn't reported by people who have only a partial circumcision.

Some men choose to try hormone creams such as corticosteroids for mild or moderate phimosis symptoms. These creams can cause the skin to grow thinner and more elastic, and this can allow the skin to retract more easily. These creams should be used only under the care of a doctor, however, and it can take a significant amount of time for the steroids to take effect.

Taking Care

Men who practice proper penis health care may never experience phimosis, and these tips can also be helpful as they work on correcting any problems they do have. Good suggestions to follow include:

• Stretch the foreskin daily, ensuring that it pulls away as it should. Doctors can show men how to do this, if they're unsure of the proper procedure.

• Clean beneath the foreskin (if applicable) and around the penis each day. Trapped skin cells and dirt can lead to infections, which can tighten the skin.

• Talk to the doctor about penis health. Men can be uncomfortable with the idea of discussing their private parts, even if they have questions. Sharing concerns openly and honestly is the best way to nip small concerns in the bud before they're allowed to blossom.

• Wear proper clothing. Underwear that is too tight or clothes that chafe and scrape can cause penis irritation that can lead to swelling and infections. Men should be comfortable in their clothing, even if it's not considered fashion forward.

Using a penis health crème (most experts recommend Man 1 Man Oil) can also be helpful. This crème can help the skin of the penis to stay soft, supple and movable. Men who have not been circumcised can ensure that the foreskin stays mobile, and men who have been through surgery can help their exposed skin to stay soft and responsive.