Treatment for phimosis: ointment or surgery? (and other options)
There are several forms of treatment for phimosis, which must be evaluated and guided by the urologist or pediatrician, according to the degree of phimosis. For milder cases, only minor exercises and ointments can be used, while for more severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
Phimosis is the inability to retract the skin of the penis to expose the glans, which creates the sensation that there is a ring at the tip of the penis that prevents the skin from sliding normally. After birth, it is common for babies to have this type of problem, but until the age of 3, the skin of the penis usually spontaneously sheds.
When left untreated, phimosis can carry on into adulthood and increase the risk of infections. Here’s how to identify phimosis and how to confirm the diagnosis.
The main treatment options for phimosis are:
1. Ointments for phimosis
To treat infantile phimosis, an ointment with corticoid can be applied, such as Postec or Betnovate, which act by softening the foreskin tissue and thinning the skin, facilitating the movement and cleaning of the penis.
How to apply: wash your hands and then carefully retract the foreskin as much as possible and without forcing it. Put a little of the ointment in the region and massage gently for about 30 seconds.
Generally, this ointment is applied 1 to 2 times a day for 4 to 8 weeks, or as directed by your pediatrician. See the ointments that can be indicated and how to put it correctly.
Performing foreskin exercises should always be guided by a pediatrician or urologist and consists of trying to move the skin of the penis slowly, stretching and shrinking the foreskin without forcing or causing pain. These exercises should be done for about 1 minute, 4 times a day, for a period of at least 1 month to see improvements.
Surgery for phimosis, also known as circumcision or postectomy, consists of removing excess skin to facilitate cleaning the penis and reduce the risk of infections.
The surgery is performed by a pediatric urologist, lasts about 1 hour, includes the use of general anesthesia and in children it is recommended between 7 and 10 years of age. The hospital stay lasts about 2 days, but the child can return to a normal routine 3 or 4 days after the surgery, taking care to avoid sports or games that impact the region for about 2 to 3 weeks.
Check out more details of the surgery for phimosis.
4. Placing the plastic ring
The placement of the plastic ring is done through a quick surgery, which takes about 10 to 30 minutes and does not need anesthesia. The ring is introduced around the glans and under the foreskin, but without squeezing the tip of the penis. Over time, the ring cuts the skin and releases its movement, falling off after about 10 days.
During the period of using the ring, it is normal for the penis to be red and swollen, but it does not interfere with peeing. In addition, this treatment does not require dressings, only an anesthetic and lubricant ointment is used to facilitate recovery.
Possible complications of phimosis
When left untreated, phimosis can cause complications such as frequent urinary tract infections, penile infections, increased chances of getting sexually transmitted diseases, pain and bleeding during intimate contact, as well as increasing the risk of penile cancer.
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