Phimosis or phimosis is a disorder of the uncircumcised penis in the form of foreskin or foreskin that is firmly attached to the head of the penis. This condition is normal in infants and children.

Phimosis occurs when the scalp or foreskin of the penis has not completely separated from the head of the penis. The foreskin will fall off on its own as the child gets older.

It's important to remember, don't try to remove the foreskin, because you run the risk of causing paraphimosis. Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin that is retracted becomes stuck and cannot return to its original position. This condition must be treated immediately because it can block blood flow to the head of the penis.

Causes of Phimosis

In uncircumcised children, especially under 3 years of age, phimosis is a normal condition. In contrast, phimosis in uncircumcised adult men is an abnormal condition. These conditions can be caused by:

  • Inflammation of the head of the penis
  • Penile head infection
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes

Phimosis in adults is more likely to occur in someone who repeatedly uses a urinary catheter.

Symptoms of Phimosis

Phimosis is characterized by the attachment of the foreskin to the head of the penis. In children, the foreskin of the penis will stretch by itself with age and will generally fall off completely at the age of 17 years.

Although generally phimosis in children is a normal condition, there are conditions that need to be watched out for in a child's penis, namely when the foreskin has detached but is reattached, or the head of the penis becomes inflamed ( balanitis ).

Phimosis that occurs in adults is an abnormal condition. Adult men who experience phimosis can feel pain, soreness, and decreased sexual desire.

When to see a doctor

Phimosis is a normal condition for boys who have not been circumcised. However, phimosis has a risk of causing balanitis if accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • The head of the penis feels sore, and looks swollen and red
  • Thick discharge from the foreskin
  • A white line is formed around the head of the penis that resembles a ring
  • There is blood in the urine
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Lower pelvic pain

If these conditions arise, immediately consult your pediatrician to get the right treatment.

Children need to undergo routine immunizations according to the schedule recommended by the pediatrician. At the time of immunization, the pediatrician will also monitor the child's health condition, including the condition of the child's penis.

With age, a boy's foreskin will stretch so that it can be pulled from the head of the penis. However, if the foreskin has stretched and then re-attached tightly, immediately consult a doctor, because this condition is classified as abnormal.

Phimosis Diagnosis

Phimosis is characterized by the foreskin of the penis sticking to the head of the penis. Although normal, immediately consult a doctor if symptoms arise that need to be watched out for.

When consulting with a doctor, the doctor will ask you about the symptoms you feel and continue with a physical examination, especially on the penis. After that, the doctor will determine the steps of treatment to be undertaken, without the need for additional examinations.

Phimosis Treatment

Most cases of phimosis are not serious and do not require special treatment. For parents whose children have phimosis, do not pull the foreskin of the penis forcibly. This action can trigger irritation or infection, even dangerous paraphimosis can occur .

Doctors will provide treatment steps if phimosis causes symptoms that interfere with daily activities. The type of treatment given will be adjusted to the patient's age and severity.

The following are the types of treatment that your doctor may suggest:


Doctors can give drugs to relieve phimosis. One of the drugs that can be used is a topical corticosteroid in the form of a cream, gel, or ointment. This medication can help flex the foreskin making it easier to retract.

Doctors can also give other drugs according to the cause of phimosis. If the patient has a fungal infection , the patient will be given an antifungal cream . Meanwhile , if the patient has a bacterial infection , the patient will be given an antibiotic cream .

Phimosis in adult men can interfere with sexual activity, because it causes discomfort or pain. To overcome this, doctors can advise patients to use condoms and lubricants when having sex.


Doctors will advise patients to undergo circumcision if they have balanitis or inflammation of the head of the penis or recurrent urinary tract infections . Circumcision is also recommended if the foreskin is attached very tightly.

Phimosis Complications

Although it is a normal condition in children, phimosis can cause complications in the form of penile infections. If it occurs in adults, phimosis can cause complications such as:

  • Phimosis that occurs repeatedly
  • Posthitis or inflammation of the foreskin
  • Necrosis or putrefaction of the head of the penis
  • Autoamputation of the head of the penis due to tissue decay

Phimosis Prevention

Phimosis is a normal condition in children. However, to prevent penile infections in children, teach him to always clean and dry the penis regularly.

Whereas in adults, cleaning the penis is done to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of phimosis. Efforts that can be made include:

  • Washing the penis every day with water while bathing, including men who have been circumcised
  • Use soap that does not contain perfume and avoid using deodorant on the penis to reduce the risk of irritation
  • Clean the skin under the foreskin by gently pulling the foreskin and do not pull the foreskin hard because it can cause pain and injury
Back to blog