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Acute Paraphimosis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is acute paraphimosis?

Acute paraphimosis is abnormal tightness of the foreskin when it is pulled back. The foreskin is the skin that covers the head (glans) of the penis. Usually, the foreskin can be pulled back onto the penis and uncover the glans. Acute paraphimosis prevents your foreskin from being pulled back.

What causes acute paraphimosis?

Any activity or procedure that causes the foreskin to be pulled back can cause paraphimosis. The foreskin may be pulled back when you clean the glans, or during sexual activity.

What increases my risk for cute paraphimosis?

  • Being born with a tight opening of the foreskin
  • Poor hygeine
  • Infection
  • Scarring of the penis caused by injury

What are the signs and symptoms of acute paraphimosis?

  • Swollen glans and shaft
  • Bluish or dark glans
  • Pain in your penis
  • Pain when you urinate, or problems urinating

How is acute paraphimosis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Tell the provider when your symptoms started and how long you have had them. Also tell the provider if you have had an infection or injury to your penis, or used a catheter.

How is acute paraphimosis treated?

Acute paraphimosis may go away on its own. The swelling in your penis should decrease after your foreskin has returned to its normal position. You may need the following treatments if your foreskin does not return to its normal position:

  • Medicines may help decrease pain or swelling.
  • An ice pack may be placed on the foreskin and glans for 5 to 10 minutes to decrease inflammation.
  • Tight pressure may be needed for a short period of time. This will help decrease inflammation. Healthcare providers may wrap your penis with a bandage for 5 to 10 minutes. A bandage with numbing medicine may be used.
  • Procedures may be needed to move your foreskin back into position over the glans. Another procedure may be needed to decrease severe swelling.
  • Surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work. During surgery, the foreskin is placed in the right position. pressure and swelling are relieved. You may need a circumcision after this procedure because cutting the foreskin will change how your penis looks.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage my acute paraphimosis?

  • Do not have sex until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Do not have any sexual activity for 7 to 10 days, to allow the penis to heal. Sexual activity includes intercourse and masturbation. Ask when you can go back to your usual sexual activities.
  • Keep your penis clean. Clean your penis every day by removing the smegma around your glans. Ask for more information about foreskin care.
  • Gently move your foreskin back to the normal position. Every time your foreskin is pulled back, make sure it returns to its original position. The foreskin must always cover the glans. Do not force the foreskin back over the glans. Force can cause scars to form on the penis.
  • Do not use penile rings. Penile rings can cause swelling and infection.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You have sudden pain or swelling in your penis.
  • You lose feeling in your penis.
  • You have an open wound on your penis.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your signs and symptoms return or worsen.
  • You have pain during sexual activities.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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