Tight Foreskin Causes | Moorgate Andrology Clinic

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Causes of Tight Foreskin

tight foreskin

Usually, the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis can be pulled back from the head of the penis. But in rare cases, the foreskin may become too tight and be unable to be retracted. This condition is known as phimosis.


Most cases of phimosis are resolved before adolescence, but the condition can last into adulthood. Although there are not any serious health complications related to phimosis, it’s associated with conditions that can cause soreness, swelling, and difficulty urinating. Keep reading to learn more about the conditions tied to phimosis, how phimosis is treated, and more.


Causes of Tight Foreskin

Your age may determine the cause of your phimosis. Children and adults may experience phimosis for different reasons. In young boys, a tight foreskin is considered congenital, which means it is something they have at birth. When this happens, it is categorised as a physiological phimosis. The foreskin usually becomes more pliable over the next few years, with phimosis completely resolving by age 7.


If a boy is circumcised, then phimosis is not possible. The other category is the pathologic phimosis. This means that phimosis is down to infection, inflammation, or scarring from an underlying condition. Pathologic phimosis can be caused by the following conditions.



Balanitis is a type of skin irritation that develops on the head of the penis. It is especially common in males who have not been circumcised. Symptoms include redness, itching, and swelling, which can cause foreskin tightness. Balanitis can also cause pain when urinating.


Practising good hygiene is usually enough to treat and prevent balanitis. Cleaning the penis with lukewarm water and soap every day, and gently drying it after bathing and urinating, should help. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a topical cream or antibiotic.



This occurs when the glans and the foreskin are inflamed. This inflammation of both foreskin and glans make the foreskin tighter. Although a yeast infection known as candidiasis is often to blame, bacterial or other types of infections can also cause balanoposthitis. Topical creams containing antibiotics or antifungals are often helpful for treating the infection.



Certain sexually transmitted infections can cause balanitis. Symptoms of balanitis, such as swelling and inflammation, can then lead to a tight foreskin. 


Genital Herpes: Balanitis is a common symptom of genital herpes. Other herpes symptoms include pain and small fluid-filled sacs like blisters on the penis and sometimes on the scrotum.


Gonorrhoea: This STI may also cause balanitis symptoms, such as swelling and redness. Other gonorrhoea symptoms include:



Syphilis: This STI can cause penis redness and swell as well. Other syphilis symptoms include:


  • Mucous patches on the penis
  • A rash elsewhere on the body
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Overall unwell feeling


If you have tight foreskin that makes it hard for you to retract it, then you may need to have a procedure called a Frenuloplasty. We offer this treatment here at Moorgate, give us a call on 0330 808 1968 to book a consultation.

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