The are basically two types of phimosis. The first is called physiologic phimosis and is actually quite normal and common in many young boys. The foreskin is naturally tight when very young and often cannot be retracted over the glans. However, with the passage of time, the foreskin loosens and by puberty, the issue is no more.
The second type of phimosis, Pathologic Phimosis, is much more malign and distressing. Some individuals may just be genetically predisposed to the condition, but often there are specific causes of the phimosis. Scarring or infection or any ailment that causes inflammation may well lead to phimosis in adults.
Symptoms of phimosis in adults can be quite distressing. They include difficulty or pain while urinating, painful erections and pain during sex. For extreme cases, the foreskin can get trapped behind the glans which often requires emergency surgery (a condition called Paraphimosis)
Phimosis Steroid Creams
If you suffer from phimosis, you will probably already know about the standard medical treatment of the condition – steroid creams. There has been a fair bit of research into phimosis cures and the use of steroid creams to treat the condition. Steroid creams unequivocally help cure the condition.(1) Phimosis steroid creams contain corticosteroids which are not to be confused with anabolic steroids used by body builders and less than honest athletes.
Corticosteroids are hormones that are produced naturally by the body’s adrenal glands and serve many functions. One such function of corticosteroids is to reduce inflammation and this is where they come into the phimosis story.
For any treatment of phimosis that does not involve surgery, you will have to practice phimosis stretching exercises (detailed below). Phimosis Stretching exercises can and often do cause inflammation of the foreskin. This inflammation can offset the stimulatory effects of the stretching exercises themselves and put your phimosis treatment back to square one. However, if you don’t stretch enough in order to avoid inflammation, then your foreskin will not be stimulated to grow.
So there is a fine balance and between inflammation of the foreskin and insufficient stretching. This is where Phimosis steroid creams come in. They do not in themselves cure phimosis. However, they do prevent inflammation allowing the patient to continue and extend his stretching exercises.
However, there are side effects associated with using steroid creams and why we think you should consider alternative herbal remedies for your phimosis condition.
Steroid creams alter the immune response of the of the skin and cells to which it is applied. This means that steroid creams can increase the chances of infection in the groin area and an infection will put your phimosis treatment right back to the beginning.
Quite often, over-the-counter topical steroid creams will explicitly advise against their use in the groin area. The reason being is that the skin thickness around the groin is thin, and as such, the steroids are easily absorbed through the foreskin and glans into the bloodstream.
There are many long-term and short-term effects from corticosteroids which should not be taken lightly. (1). However, side effects can include cataracts, osteoporosis, hypertension, high blood sugar and increased susceptibility to infections to name only a few. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that can be used as alternatives to steroid creams and in conjunction with your phimosis stretching exercises.
Home Remedies to Cure Phimosis
- Phimosis Stretching exercises
For any treatment of phimosis that does not involve surgery, it will involve stretching the foreskin. These exercises should be conducted alongside the other natural remedies listed here. The purpose of phimosis stretching exercises is to the stretch the skin sufficiently so that it can move unimpeded over the penis glans, which is the head of the penis.
First off, you must assess the size of the opening for the foreskin. Gently clasp the end of the foreskin while the penis is limp and pull it away from the body. Try to put a finger into the opening. If you can put a thumb in, do so. You do not need to insert the digit far as the purpose of inserting the digit is to get a purchase on the foreskin.
Be careful not to insert your finger too far to avoid touching the glans which will be very painful to touch. With the help of your other hand repeat, see if you can get another finger or thumb in the opening, begin to stretch the foreskin laterally as in the picture above. If you can only get one digit into the hole, then you will have to make do. The point here is to stretch laterally the foreskin ring which is the narrowest part.
Do not stretch the foreskin to the point that it is painful.
This will cause scarring and damage to the skin, which will make your phimosis worse. These phimosis stretching exercises should be done for 5 minutes in the morning and again in the evening. It will take about a week before you notice any material change so be patient and do not rush.
Doing long sessions will make little difference as the stretching happens when the skin cells grow. The phimosis stretching exercises stimulate the growth, they do not actually stretch the skin. So it is more important to do frequent small sessions than infrequent, long sessions.
Remember the objective at this stage is to begin the loosening of the foreskin. You must not try and force the gland through the foreskin as you may not be able to get it back in. The foreskin can become trapped like an elastic band behind the gland, restricting blood flow to the penis head. This condition is called Paraphimosis and can often require surgery to fix.
2. Phimosis Bathing and urination exercises
Again the principle is that same here. It’s about regular stretching of the foreskin at opportune moments. Whenever you are in the bath, use the opportunity, when the foreskin is naturally looser due to the bath water, to retract the foreskin as far as possible to without pain, and repeating several times.
A 2007 study led by Dr. Thomas McGregor at King’s University in Ontario proposed that proper foreskin hygiene, including gentle retraction and cleansing during bathing, also helps prevent pathologic foreskin conditions. (3) Likewise, one should also try to retract the foreskin during urination, not so much because urination adds anything to the stretching program, just that you may as well use the time to exercise.
3. Chamomile cream
If you have got this far, then this will mean you realize the importance of phimosis stretching exercises, but perhaps are uncomfortable with using steroid creams to reduce inflammation. This is where the natural herbal remedies come in as luck would have it, there are several herbal remedies for phimosis that reduce inflammation yet do not have the nasty side effects of steroid creams.
Chamomile is a member of the daisy family and has been shown in studies to be anti-inflammatory and to control immune response and what’s more, to be as effective as hydrocortisone, the main active ingredient in topical steroid creams. (3)
It can be used for a wide range of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema and the same anti-inflammatory properties can be used as an alternative to steroid creams for phimosis. Apply chamomile lotion or cream to the foreskin whenever you conduct your exercises.
4. Calendula cream
Calendula-based creams are derived from the marigold flower. They have also been shown to be anti-inflammatory and have similar benefits to hydrocortisone. A clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2004 (4) found that calendula cream was effective in treating dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition. Apply calendula cream to the foreskin whenever you conduct your stretching exercises to relieve potential inflammation.
5. Borage seed oil
Borage oil is made from the seeds of the Borago officinalis plant. It is rich in omega fatty acids and linolenic acid. Linolenic acid has long been known for its beneficial effects to the skin and indeed in used in many anti-aging beauty products. The compound gives skin moisture balance, removes wrinkles and fine lines and improves skin elasticity.
Now you may be wondering what good is that for the foreskin, and you would be right in thinking that its beauty benefits are not relly relevant for phimosis. However, the processes that make the skin more supple and wrinkle free for the face, are very applicable when the objective is to loosen the foreskin.
Borage seed oil is also an anti-inflammatory herbal remedy(5)as well as is used for a variety of inflammatory skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
6 Tamanu Nut Oil
Tamanu is another essential oil that is both anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help regenerate skin cells. The active compound in the oil is calophyllolide which has the anti-inflammatory properties. It is also popular oil to treat scars and other skin blemishes as it promotes fresh skin growth. (6) It is again widely used as a herbal remedy for a variety of skin conditions that are inflammatory in nature.
For phimosis, this is the perfect combination and really is everything you would want from a phimosis treatment. If you suffer from phimosis due to scarring of the foreskin, this treatment may be particularly suitable. However, some people have found the oil to be irritating to the skin and one should use caution and a diluted oil mix (mix with sunflower or almond oil) before application.
Caution: Those with a nut allergy should avoid the treatment.
7. Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sea buckthorn oil is an oil derived from the buckthorn plant. Like the other oils, it is an effective herbal remedy for a variety of skin conditions and has similar properties to steroid creams. However, buckthorn oil has also been shown to regenerate skin (7) which makes it particularly useful for the home treatment of phimosis. The oil is very strong so should be diluted with a carrier oil such as vegetable or olive oil.
8. Licorice Cream
Licorice cream is another natural home remedy for phimosis as the cream alleviates inflammation and has immune suppressant qualities similar to hydrocortisone creams. (8)
Double blind studies in the European Journal of Dermatology in 2005 using a placebo have shown licorice cream as an effective treatment for skin inflammation, in particular, the treatment of eczema where steroidal creams are the standard medical treatment. It is the anti-inflammatory properties that make the cream suitable for phimosis treatment.
9. Ayurvedic cures for phimosis
Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional medicine practiced on the Indian sub continent. Modern medicine continues scientifically test many of the remedies for all sorts of ailments and the evidence is growing that much of the remedies do have proven medical qualities. For the treatment of phimosis, Nirgundi Taila oil and coconut oil are recommended to loosen the foreskin. Coconut oil is known for its moisturizing properties on skin, while Nirgundi Taila oil has many properties, one of which is anti-inflammatory. However, there is no direct research linking these oils to phimosis.
10. St. John’s Wort cream
Creams containing St. John’s wort creams will also prove useful as an anti-inflammatory cream for when you conduct you phimosis stretching exercises. This herbal remedy contains a compound called hyperforin, which has anti-inflammatory benefits like hydrocortisone and so can be used as a natural steroid cream. As a steroid cream alternative, it has been shown to be beneficial to inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema (9)
Do’s and Don’ts of Phimosis
- Conduct phimosis exercises regularly.
- Always use an anti-inflammatory cream. You will heal much faster
- Keep the penis clean at all times as infections are more common if using an immune suppressant cream
- Wash using baths rather than showers to practice exercises.
- For all natural creams, first test some cream on some less sensitive skin than the groin area in case of allergic reactions.
- Exercise to the point of pain.
- If the foreskin is sore, do not exercise. Let it recover.