Phimosis and Paraphimosis

What is phimosis and paraphimosis?

Phimosis is a constriction of the opening of the foreskin so that it cannot be drawn back over the tip of the penis. This condition is a normal occurrence in the newborn boy, but over time the skin that adheres to the tip of the penis can be retracted as the foreskin loosens.  By age 17, around 99 percent of males will be able to completely retract their foreskin. Phimosis can also occur if the foreskin is forced back before it is ready. This can cause a fibrous scar to form, which may prevent future retraction of the foreskin.

Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin is retracted behind the corona (or crown) of the penis and cannot be returned to the unretracted position. This can cause entrapment of the penis, impairing the drainage of blood, and may be serious.

Prevention & Risk Treatment

Prevention & Risk Treatment

What are the symptoms of phimosis and paraphimosis?

The following are the most common symptoms of phimosis and paraphimosis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Phimosis:
  • Bulging of the foreskin during urination
  • Inability to completely retract the foreskin by age 3 (in some children this process may take longer)
Paraphimosis:
  • Swelling of the tip of the penis as the foreskin is retracted or pulled back
  • Pain
  • Inability to pull the foreskin back over the tip of the penis
  • Discoloration, either dark red or bluish color, of the tip of the penis

The symptoms of phimosis and paraphimosis may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis

How is phimosis or paraphimosis diagnosed?

A careful physical examination by your child's doctor normally provides satisfactory information to make a diagnosis.

Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

Departments

Departments

Urology

At Children’s National in Washington, DC, our pediatric urologists provide comprehensive care for disorders affecting reproductive and urinary organs.

Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases

See other ways to give

Keep in touch with Children's National by signing up for our newsletters.

Sign up now

Craig Peters' Story

Craig Peters

Craig Peters, MD, is the chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

Read More of Craig Peters' Story