(Please note, your author is not a medical expert. Proper professionals should be consulted.)
For those who don’t know, ‘phimosis’ is a common condition in which the foreskin will not adequately retract over the glans, the head of the penis.
Boys who were circumcised as infants are exempt from this condition, but for many others, it’s quite real. It becomes more obvious as they become old enough to have sex, and find it painful if not even impossible. Cleanliness is also difficult. Some boys grow sufficiently out of the condition, but not all. Those boys will need your help.
The obvious solution would seem to be circumcision. Just cut the offending, unretractable or painful foreskin off. Or, one might opt for the ‘dorsal slit’ procedure which is still a minor surgery, but not as severe as actually removing the foreskin.
Like any surgery, circumcision can be problematic. The child or adult who has had the procedure may find it quite painful, and it can weeks to fully heal. It is also traumatic. Imagine the child’s reaction to having strange doctors, nurses and others touching and showing concern for his penis!
Now, I’m certainly not advocating routine circumcision for all male babies, as has been practiced in many cultures for hundreds of years. That’s nothing but very bad news. Believe it or not, until around 1960, many doctors actually said that babies don’t feel pain. Therefore they often performed circumcisions without anesthesia. Evidently, the babies were just frantically crying for some other reason. And what about the freshly cut penises rubbing on the cloth or diapers the boys were wearing for the next several days? What about urine getting into the cut? Well, babies don’t feel pain, right?
Psychologist have long pointed out that childhood experiences can have long-lasting subconscious effects well into adulthood. That’s a major reason why we don’t molest children. So what happens to a boy who has been made to suffer pain in his penis as one of the first things that happened to him since being born? You may have seen the effects. Do you have a bitter neighbor, cousin, friend, or even mate who always complains about everything? Right, that may be due to an early, one-trial-learning experience around the age of eight days. That baby may have come to the conclusion that the world is a lousy place, and bad things can happen out of his control at any time. I believe if someone did the research, they’d find millions of men in this condition.
Then, there were the complications. A very minor one, that some men carry into adult hood is skin bridge, in which as the skin heals, a portion permanently attaches to the glans.
But far worse is infections. More than one baby had a penis amputated, and some even died from complications of circumcision. Oh, well, it’s God’s will. NO! It’s the will of people who have been too sheepish to stop an ongoing and foolish tradition.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to circumcision. No hospitalization, no surgery, no pain, no recovery time, and no examinations and procedures by strangers are required. This alternative is stretching exercises.
In order for the stretching exercises to work, the exercises have to be performed on a regular and ongoing basis. If your boy is like most, he’s going to need your help to stay focused and perform the exercises regularly. In fact, if you can participate to any degree you feel is appropriate and make the exercises enjoyable, your child is more likely to have success.
For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll assume your boy is at least 18 years old. The exercises can be performed on younger children, but one must consider the possible psychological consequences. Furthermore, discussion of a procedure of this sort, even though purely clinical and applied only for the betterment of the child’s health, could be misconstrued as sexual in some manner, and therefore cannot appear on this website. What you do in your home, within your own family, is of course none of this writer’s business. If you discover phimosis at an early age, take whatever action you know is correct.
You may have noticed your child’s tight foreskin as early as when you diapered him. You may not have paid any attention, or realized that many young children cannot fully retract their foreskins. That’s normal, and most grow out of it.
Or, maybe as an adolescent, or later, as your child grew up, the condition came to your attention in one way or another. For instance, he may have asked you about it. The boy may have even had an erection in your presence, and showed you how it hurts him to pull his foreskin back.
Or maybe, you happened to notice, reached over, tried to expose his glans, and were met with a yelp of pain.
Hopefully, you didn’t take him for an embarrassing trip to the doctor, where the boy was made to have an erection to show the strange doctor the problem. And worse, hopefully the doctor didn’t suggest circumcision. Can you imagine being an adolescent and having someone tell you they have to cut your penis?
I wonder, how much does a surgeon get paid for this simple little procedure? They do have incentive to cut.
The honest and enlightened doctor may recommend stretching exercises. The reasonably way to put it, is that the boy can try the exercises first, and only resort to surgery if that doesn’t work.
You would think that would certainly motivate the child to do the exercises regularly and diligently. But you know kids! With the best of intentions, they often fail to do what they know what they should do. Remember how hard it was to get him to brush his teeth? Now, there’s baseball, homework, TV, computers, friends, a million distractions.
There will be the occasional child who is well acquainted with masturbation, and realizes these exercises could actually be enjoyable. But most will either disregard the exercises entirely, or do them half-heartedly a few times, then give up. This is true even for boys who masturbate regularly.
You’ll remind him several times. You may even cajole or yell, but you know it will do no good.
This is when you have to take things into your own hands. Literally. That may be a good thing, because even a child who is willing to do the exercises on his own may not understand exactly how they are done, or may not bring himself to do them fully.
So, it falls on you to do the exercises for your boy. Remember, this is clinical. This not sexual, although it would entirely natural for you to become somewhat excited after these exercise sessions and have to relieve yourself later on.
Here’s what you do: Explain to the child what’s going to happen, and remind him of the consequences if he does not acquiesce: Circumcision.
Set up a comfortable environment. It may be the child’s bed, your bed, a mat on the floor, or even in the living room on the sofa, if the other members of the family don’t care, and if it won’t embarrass your kid.
In some families, nudity, and even masturbation in front of each other is common. If this describes your family, no problem. Otherwise, afford your boy as much privacy as you can. Wherever you set up shop, it should be warm. No one wants to remove their clothing in a cold room.
For solidarity and for the boy’s emotional comfort, you might consider removing all your clothing also. That way, he won’t be the only naked one.
The child has to be erect for these exercises to work. He may come to you already in that state. If not, you might try this:
Wave your fingers or better yet, the corner of a sheet of toilet paper, over the boy’s scrotum. Slowly lower until your fingers or the sheet are just barely touching the skin. This creates a mild tickle-like effect that often generates spontaneous erection. If necessary, move on to ever-so-lightly tickling the boy’s frenulum. That’s the little fold of skin on the underside of the penis just below the glans. It is nearly indistinguishable from the foreskin itself, so you might say you are super-lightly tickling the foreskin just under the glans.
There’s no doubt the boy will grow an erection. If he’s shy or concerned, remind him that what’s happening is natural. That an erection would happen to any boy. Also remind him that it’s necessary for the exercise to work. You might also say you’ve taken care of him since he was a baby. You’ve seen erections before.
If you’re the father, you may become erect also. Or if you’re the mother, you may notice some arousal, some wetness. These reactions are natural, but can be entirely disregarded for now. If necessary, you can take care of that yourself later.
Once the child is fully erect, the exercises themselves are simple. Actually, it’s a single exercise, repeated several times. Simply pull the foreskin down just to the point of pain, but not beyond. There’s no need to hurt your boy. Pull it down until he expresses slight discomfort or winces, then hold it for ten seconds before letting go. Give him a few seconds to settle, then do it again. Do it ten times in a row. Do the whole procedure at least two times a day if possible.
In time, you may find yourself becoming bored with the procedure, yet you know that if you don’t help your kid every day, he’s going to quit doing the exercises. One of the best solutions is to enlist other family members to help. Perhaps your spouse, or one of your son’s brothers or sisters can be shown how to do what you’ve been doing.
For some boys, it is easy to show him that these exercises can be combined with masturbation. If you’re lucky, he will need no more prompting after that. However, if you want to be sure the exercises are getting done, and there’s no one to help you, another approach is to instruct the boy to get himself fully erect and do the exercises in front of you or a family member.
Depending on the age of your boy, you may notice occasional dry orgasms, or ejaculations. That’s to be expected, but not necessarily encouraged. It tends to cut the exercise period short, since the boy won’t enjoy continuing with the exercises after orgasm. So, orgasm should be avoided if you can sense it coming (no pun intended), and back off for a minute until the pre-orgasmic in your boy subsides.
Patience is key. These exercises won’t fix the problem in a week. They may even take years, but the outcome is well worth the effort.
You’ll probably discover small rewards along the way. If the boy has had major phimosis, then the day will come when you can just barely see his peehole as the skin is stretched down. Some time later, you’ll see a 5 millimeter circle of glans exposed. Then it will be 10 millimeters. The day will come when the foreskin suddenly slips behind the glans. This is a slightly tricky time, as it can be difficult to get the foreskin to slip back over the glans. The ring of tight foreskin behind the glans tends to restrict blood flow, so the glans will want to stay erect. However, patiently working the foreskin back into position will do the job. Eventually, the foreskin will slip back and forth over the glans easily.
One thought on “A Parent’s Guide to Phimosis”
I wanted to thank you in private for the article about phimosis in boys. I noticed my boy’s (8 yo) foreskin didn’t slide over his glans one day a few years ago when we showered together and he got an erection. He used to kind of “scratch” his front often while watching TV, I’ve seen him do this wearing his underpants, and he clearly had an erection on many occasions. I thought he was scratching because it felt good but now I understand it was uncomfortable for him and that’s why he was scratching.
I made a natural “lube lotion” with coconut oil and argan oil, I read that argan oil moisturizes and helps with elasticity in skin. It has worked wonderfully, his glans and foreskin don’t look at all irritated and red anymore, it looks much healthier. He doesn’t scratch his front anymore, and he’s usually happy to do the stretching exercises when we use the oil. The first few times I did it for him, to teach him, but now he can do it himself. We have it scheduled, and we sit together when he does it. I found out if he’s alone he tends to just slide his fingers along the penis for the pleasure of it, and not actually make the foreskin slide downward at all.
I was only 18 when I got pregnant, and am a single mom. It can be hard to understand these things that should come from a father figure, which my boy doesn’t have. Your article really helped. I didn’t think it was very important to start working on the issue, but now I realize it’s improving his quality of life and he’s a happier healthier boy. Thanks again.