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Safe Stretching Exercises You Can Try If Suffering From Phimosis

By Dr. Nilesh Kumar Dehariya +2 more

Phimosis is a condition of the penis which may occur in some adults and children who have not undergone circumcision. If you suffer from phimosis, it means your foreskin can’t be pulled back or retracted from around the tip of the penis. Phimosis can occur naturally or due to scarring. There is a need for treatment of this condition as it may cause other health issues and symptoms. Phimosis can become a severe concern if it leaves an opening the size of a pinhole.

There are two types of phimosis – in childhood, a male may have the physiologic type which usually resolves with age. The pathologic type develops much later and is associated with a condition called balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO). This type of phimosis may also develop due to poor hygiene, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc or scar tissue, injuries and infections.


The symptoms of phimosis include:

  • Redness or discolouration, which may occur when infected or irritated
  • Swelling due to infection or irritation
  • Soreness
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain during erection and sexual activity

It is advised to not self-diagnose and as soon as you notice any of these symptoms, you must consult a doctor. The condition if left untreated can worsen over time and requires medical attention. There are several treatments for phimosis and possibly surgery will be required. However, your doctor may recommend certain exercises and doing them regularly may provide temporary relief. Exercises do not ensure treatment of the condition therefore consult a doctor first. 

It is a very common misconception that pulling the foreskin would help phimosis, but in fact, it actually worsens the condition and causes an increase in the redness, tears and scarring of the foreskin, which might lead to complications and might require a surgical intervention.

Dr Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D. in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Is exercise good for phimosis?

If you are suffering from phimosis, regular exercise may be recommended by the doctor to help manage your symptoms. The doctor will suggest a few light exercises after examining your condition. Phimosis stretching exercises are helpful and may ease your pain to some extent. In severe cases, exercises may not be recommended. 

Did You Know?

  • Physiological phimosis is common in children between 2 and 4 years of age. source: NCBI 
  • Phimosis is present in 8% of 6- to 7-year-olds, 6% of 10- to 11-year-olds, and 1% of 16- to 17-year-old boys. source: NCBI 
  • Laboratory tests and radiography are not typically required in the assessment of phimosis. source: NCBI 
  • Circumcision is the preferred treatment for pathological phimosis. source:NCBI
  • Topical steroids can render the foreskin retractable in pathological phimosis. source: NCBI 

Stretching exercises for phimosis

  • You can start doing a few simple stretching exercises. To begin with, gently pull the foreskin against the head of the penis. If your foreskin ring is too tight and small, you will be unable to insert fingers. In this case, you will have to stretch the hole wider and try to pull the foreskin back as much as possible. You will have to try and hold it back for 30 to 40 seconds, then release and repeat this a few more times.
  • Never use too much force when trying to pull back the foreskin as it can cause injuries. You must also be very careful while doing this stretching exercise as the ring can get stuck while you slide it behind the head of the penis. Try to use warm water and do these stretches in the shower for a comfortable experience otherwise, it can be painful. Warm water helps loosen the skin and can be relaxing. You could also use water-based lubricant but always rinse well after doing stretches.
  • Your foreskin may be too tight to let in your fingers but if you have an open ring, try to stretch the skin by holding onto the edges of it. You should try to do this by not being too harsh and only applying minimal pressure to spread the foreskin. Hold this for around 30 to 60 seconds, release and repeat. 
  • You can use your fingers to stretch the foreskin, that is if your fingers can fit inside the foreskin. Place your fingers back to back on either side of the foreskin, gently stretch the skin by pulling in opposite directions, then relax and repeat. Your fingers must be clean while doing these stretching exercises. 
  • A frenulum stretch is also helpful if the foreskin is not long enough. Take the foreskin where it connects to the frenulum, pull the skin downwards, away from the head of the penis and hold this for 30 seconds, then release. 
  • To stretch your foreskin you may use a flesh tunnel. It is a silicone device that you have to stick to your foreskin and then leave it for some time to allow the foreskin to remain stretched and loosen up. Once you can get one finger inside your foreskin, you can try a fresh funnel.

You must remember that choosing the proper technique is very important while doing stretching exercises for phimosis. The foreskin is extremely sensitive and only light pressure and gentle motions must be used while stretching. Stretching the foreskin too aggressively may worsen your condition. Try tensing and relaxing regularly for increased flexibility. 

Phimosis has been defined as unretractable foreskin without adherences or a circular band of tight prepuce preventing full retraction. Treatment with topical steroids, combined with stretching exercises, is a suitable alternative to surgical correction (preputial plasty/circumcision).

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka – MBBS, MD(Pediatrics)

Also Read: What is Blue Balls: A Medical Perspective on the Myth and Reality

Exercises to avoid phimosis

While performing the stretching exercises may provide temporary relief from phimosis, it is important to note that you must not be overstretching or pulling the foreskin too aggressively. Avoid doing heavy exercises that cause excess jerking and may increase pain. You must also ensure that you correctly perform these exercises to avoid any injury and always consult the doctor. 

Conclusion:

A tight foreskin can make it very uncomfortable for you and seeking medical treatment is necessary. Phimosis Stretching exercises must be done with utmost awareness as doing it wrong can be more harmful than good. Take care to follow proper hand hygiene before and after touching the penis. A better option is to consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and to discuss more appropriate treatment options. 

Also Read: Sciatica Stretches: Research-Based Guide for Pain Relief

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1. How frequently can a person do stretching exercises for phimosis?

Ans. You may do stretching exercises for phimosis, twice a day. Ideally, you should do it while taking a bath or shower. Remember to do stretching exercises on the foreskin with caution and without hurting or causing any damage to the foreskin.

Q2. Is it safe to perform stretching exercises for phimosis?

Ans. It is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before performing stretching exercises, to understand the correct procedure based on your condition. These exercises may be good for a person with phimosis but may not be advised for a person with other male genital-related problems etc.

Q3. What happens if I neglect phimosis and do not seek treatment?

Ans. Phimosis is caused due to balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) and can lead to urinary tract infection and related problems. It is also associated with an increased risk of cancer of the penis. 

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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