Sexual Health Q&A

How is phimosis treated?

Patients with phimosis and their caregivers should not forcefully retract the foreskin.

Milder cases of phimosis may be treated with a steroid ointment, such as betamethasone 0.05%, which softens the foreskin and makes it easier to pull back. The ointment is usually applied to the affected area once or twice a day for about six weeks. Sometimes, it helps to do foreskin stretching exercises as well and “practice” pulling the foreskin back and forth to keep phimosis from happening again. A doctor can teach patients to do these exercises.

If phimosis is caused by an infection, an antibiotic or anti-fungal medication may be prescribed.

More serious cases of phimosis might require circumcision, a surgical procedure in which the foreskin is completely removed.

Preputioplasty is another option. This procedure involves cutting or stretching the foreskin so that it can be easily pulled forward and back.

Patients are advised to get treatment for phimosis as quickly as possible. Over time, the ring can become tighter, making the condition more difficult to treat.