What is foreskin adhesion?

Foreskin Adhesion
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Foreskin adhesion in children: Overview

As your child gets older, the skin (foreskin) that folds over his penis will get looser. It will be easier to pull it back from the tip. If your son's foreskin can't be pulled back by the time he reaches puberty, he may have a problem called an adhesion, or phimosis (fi-MO-sis). It needs to be treated.

Most boys' foreskins are tight and don't pull back for the first few years of life. This is normal. But if there is scarring or inflammation under the foreskin, it may stay tight.

A steroid cream may help free the foreskin. Or your child may need a procedure called a lysis. This is a surgical procedure to loosen the foreskin without removing it.

In some cases, a doctor may recommend removing the foreskin (circumcision).

How can you care for your child at home when he has a foreskin adhesion?

  • If your doctor recommended a steroid cream, help your child put it on his foreskin. The doctor will show you how to put the medicine on. He or she will also tell you how often to apply it and how long to use it.
  • If your child had a lysis procedure, follow the doctor's instructions for cleaning the area. You will also get instructions on any medicine or cream to put on the penis.
  • If your child had a procedure to loosen or remove the foreskin, give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.

Foreskin adhesion in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • Your child is passing little or no urine.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if your child has any problems.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.