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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 old or younger.

What causes phimosis?

Phimosis can occur from an infection under the foreskin. An infection may occur if the area is not properly cleaned. Infections can also cause scar tissue to form and lead to phimosis.

What are the signs and symptoms of phimosis?

The tip of the penis may be red, swollen, tender, or painful. Your child may not be able to urinate.

How is phimosis treated?

Do not force the foreskin back. Your child's phimosis may get better with no treatment. Ask your child's healthcare provider about the following:

  • Antibiotic medicine may be given to treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Steroid cream may help decrease swelling and discomfort.
  • A circumcision may be done to remove your child's foreskin.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • 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.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • Your child cannot urinate.

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 caregivers 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.

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