Foreskin problems

It is very common for boys to have foreskin problems. These problems might include inflammation (redness and swelling), infection or tightness. Tightness, also known as phimosis, is especially common and it can be normal for younger boys not to be able to pull back (retract) their foreskin, because it is tight. Research shows that the foreskin becomes more retractile with age and that only a small percent of boys continue to have this problem after puberty. If the foreskin is tight it can balloon when passing urine and can cause spraying of urine. As the foreskin becomes more retractile it can become inflamed and uncomfortable. There are rare occasions when the foreskin can become scarred and will never retract, and this can cause increasing problems. This is called balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) and will need further assessment and treatment.

If you are worried about this problem, it is best to discuss it with a Doctor.


Most children with a tight foreskin, that cannot be pulled back normally need no treatment as time usually cures the problem. Recurring problems such as inflammation (redness), discomfort, problems passing urine or scarring of the foreskin may be treated either by steroid cream, or surgery. Surgery may be discussed to either widen (prepuceplasty) or remove the foreskin (circumcision).

Our Consultants have many years of experience at treating foreskin problems and will be able to advise about the best management.  Across the world children are circumcised for religious, social (because society feels there are possible health benefits or because in a particular society it is normal to be circumcised) and medical reasons (tight, inflamed or diseased foreskin), but our Consultants only perform this procedure in children for medical reasons. If you would like to discuss childhood foreskin problems with a Consultant then please contact 01782 382507 and book a consultation with Mr Christopher Luscombe.