Retracted Foreskin in Boys: What You Should Know

Not handling the foreskin properly or infections from improper hygiene can cause retracted foreskin in baby boys. In these cases, we'll show you some possible treatment options.
Retracted Foreskin in Boys: What You Should Know

Last update: 30 August, 2019

Paraphimosis, also known as retracted foreskin, is an uncommon condition that can affect boys at any time in their lives. This causes them a lot of pain in the area from inflammation. Due to excess retraction, parents or doctors often clean the glans, and that causes the inflammation.

In fact, this can cause serious problems if you don’t treat it in time. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your children. In addition, pay attention to any irregularities, especially in the first year. Diagnosing it in time can prevent surgery for this condition.

Why does retracted foreskin occur?

Its main cause is not handling the foreskin properly, which is the movable skin that covers the glans. Usually, you move it back to clean babies’ penises. However, if you leave it like this for too long, it can become inflamed.

This inflammation makes it so you can’t put the foreskin back. Then, it causes paraphimosis.

Other reasons for retracted foreskin are lack of hygiene, lesions in the area, insect stings, problems with circumcision, and even childhood diabetes This condition causes chronic inflammation, both in the penis and foreskin.

Signs and symptoms of retracted foreskin

When it comes to little boys, it’s often difficult for parents to realize the true problem of retracted foreskin. Therefore, it’s best to treat any discomfort or crying to prevent complications in time. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Lots of pain and discomfort
  • Difficulty moving the foreskin
  • Inflammation of the glans
  • Appearance of a “donut” on the upper part of the glans
  • Constant crying
  • Irritation when urinating
  • Bluish or red color at the tip of the penis
Retracted Foreskin in Boys: What You Should Know

Difference between paraphimosis and phimosis

Paraphimosis and phimoses may seem similar because they’re related to each other. However, each one is unique.

  • Phimosis: It’s normal in newborn babies. Their foreskin is very small and doesn’t reveal the glans. Therefore, it forms a ring that sticks and doesn’t go back. Generally, this goes away around three years old. Otherwise, doctors recommend manual retraction to prevent any problems.
  • Paraphimosis: This happens when phimosis gets worse. In this case, the glans is uncovered. The foreskin, when left down, contracts. Then, it causes inflammation and other serious problems with blood flow.

“The main cause of paraphimosis is not handling the foreskin well, the fold that covers the glans.”

How to prevent retracted foreskin in babies or children

In the first few months of life, babies are very delicate. Therefore, it’s very important to take care of them and keep them out of harm’s way.

You should start by paying attention during bath time. While bathing your baby, make sure the area of the penis is clean and free of debris to prevent infection.

In addition, it’s important for the foreskin to not be retracted.  In fact, it will only do that as kids grow. 

For babies over three years old, we recommend teaching them how to move the foreskin and clean it. Then, they’ll learn that they’re supposed to do that whenever they go to the bathroom or shower.

Risks of not acting in time

If you don’t treat it in time, your child could have serious problems. For example, blood might not reach his penis easily. In fact, that could cause gangrene.

Also, your child may have problems urinating. Additionally, he could have complications from other infections and bad inflammation, which could even cause him to lose a limb.

Likewise, more serious complications could happen, like needing to rush to the hospital with severe obstruction, bleeding, irritation and pain. In these cases, the doctor will need to make an incision in the foreskin to reduce inflammation and issues with the glans.

Retracted Foreskin in Boys: What You Should Know

Treatment and recommendations

The main treatment is to carefully press on the child’s penis while stretching the foreskin forwardIf you can move it, it will help lower the inflammation. Then, it will heal within a few days. If the foreskin doesn’t move, it’s best to go to the doctor.

It’s also important to teach kids around three years old to clean that area well and use their member correctly. Then, they’ll be able to prevent problems like retracted foreskin.

Ultimately, if you want a definite cure for paraphimosis, you need to get a circumcision from a specialistThis surgery consists of removing the foreskin.

As a final piece of advice, we recommend that parents take their baby to the doctor as soon as they see the first warning sign. By following these tips, you can avoid the risk of needing surgery.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.