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Foreskin Problems (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care fo Foreskin Problems

  • Phimosis usually does not require emergency medical treatment and many mild occurrences resolve without medical intervention. However, if the person has any urinary symptoms, for example, difficulty urinating or burning upon urination, then a doctor should be contacted within 12-24 hours. In certain circumstances, treating phimosis can lead to paraphimosis, which does require immediate medical attention.
  • With paraphimosis, if a person cannot return the foreskin to its original position and the glans or foreskin becomes progressively more painful, swollen, or discolored, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Paraphimosis is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it can result in gangrene of the glans and foreskin. Apply ice to the penis to reduce swelling; however, if the ice and direct pressure technique does not relieve the problem rapidly, go immediately to the nearest hospital's Emergency Department or to a doctor' office.

Foreskin Problems Diagnosis

The doctor often starts the examination by getting a detailed history of the problem, especially if it has occurred previously, and male adults, a sexual history. Then the doctor will likely continue the examination as follows.

  • In considering phimosis, the doctor may do at least two tests:
    • A full genital examination
    • A urinalysis to look for evidence of infection (if indicated)
  • Paraphimosis can mimic other medical conditions so the doctor may find or inquire about the following:
  • A constricting foreign body (usually a piece of hair wrapped around the penis, seen most often in infants); in adults it can occur with certain sexual practices.
  • Insect bites
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Infection
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2016

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