Bill in New York is 33, has been married for three years and is uncircumcised. Lately, he says, it’s been more difficult for his foreskin to retract off of the head of his penis. This makes it more difficult to urinate and produces some pain during intercourse.
Bill, you’ve got a condition called phimosis, which is when a foreskin that previously was fully retractable is no longer able to do so. The usual cause is inflammation of the foreskin due to some kind of infection.
In addition to being painful, phimosis is a serious problem, so you’ve gotta get to your doctor right away.
Not only do you risk getting a more serious infection, but if, somehow, your foreskin does retract back off of the head of the penis, it might get stuck in that retracted position, which could cut off the blood flow to the head of the penis. That is an emergency situation and you’d need immediate attention.
I think it’s likely that your doctor will recommend that you be circumcised. Removing the foreskin permanently will, obviously, make future phimosis impossible. Although circumcision is usually performed on boys when they are infants, adult circumcision is not uncommon.
It’s a fairly simple procedure and recovery is typically rapid, though there may be some pain at first. We are, after all, talking about one of the most sensitive parts of the body!
Interestingly enough, circumcision is experiencing a bit of a comeback after being discouraged for years as a medically unnecessary procedure. The reason is that research has shown that circumcised men have a lower chance of getting certain sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
In areas where the incidence of HIV infection is very high, such as parts of Africa, adult circumcision is being recommended as a way to lower risk.
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