Skip to main content


Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What is phimosis?

Phimosis is when the foreskin of an uncircumcised male becomes tight around the tip of the penis. The foreskin is often so tight that it cannot be pulled back. Phimosis is most common in boys 4 years or younger. Phimosis may happen when scar tissue forms under the foreskin. Scar tissue may form after repeated infections. Often, skin infections are caused by skin irritation or not cleaning the area well.

What are the signs and symptoms of phimosis?

The tip of the penis may be red, swollen, or painful. Your child may have trouble urinating or have blood in his urine.

How is phimosis treated?

Your child's phimosis may get better without treatment. Do not force the foreskin back. This can cause more pain. Your child may need medicines to decrease swelling and pain or to treat a bacterial infection. A circumcision may be done to remove your child's foreskin.

Treatment options

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

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child cannot urinate.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • Your child has a fever.
  • You see redness, swelling, or blisters on your child's penis.
  • You see drainage from your child's foreskin.
  • Your child has pain when he urinates.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.