Phimosis and Paraphimosis

What is phimosis and paraphimosis?

Phimosis is a constriction of the opening of the foreskin so that it cannot be drawn back over the tip of the penis. This condition is a normal occurrence in the newborn boy, but over time, the skin that adheres to the tip of the penis can be retracted as the foreskin loosens. By age 17, 99 percent of males will be able to completely retract their foreskin.

  • Phimosis can also occur if the foreskin is forced back before it’s ready. This can cause a fibrous scar to form, which may prevent future retraction of the foreskin.
  • Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin is retracted behind the corona (or crown) of the penis and cannot be returned to the unretracted position. This can cause entrapment of the penis, impairing the drainage of blood, and may be serious.

What are the symptoms of phimosis and paraphimosis?

The following are the most common symptoms of phimosis and paraphimosis. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:


  • bulging of the foreskin during urination
  • inability to completely retract the foreskin by age 3 (in some children this process may take longer)


  • swelling of the tip of the penis as the foreskin is retracted or pulled back
  • pain
  • inability to pull the foreskin back over the tip of the penis
  • discoloration, either dark red or bluish color of the tip of the penis