Paraphimosis Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

A medical condition like Paraphimosis occurs when the penile foreskin becomes trapped behind the glans penis (the head of the penile) and cannot be returned to its normal position.     

The condition can give rise to pain and swelling. If it is left untreated, it may potentiate the risk of serious complications.  

Symptoms of Paraphimosis

The condition can be indicated through the following symptoms:

Pain and discomfort

Because of the trapping of the foreskin around the glans penis, the individual might develop symptoms like pain and discomfort. The intensity of pain can range from mild to severe.


The trapping of the foreskin can lead to the constriction or the narrowing of the blood vessels around the glans penis. This can contribute to swelling and irritation in the foreskin.


The swollen area becomes highly sensitive to touch. It turns very tender.


Due to the trapping of the foreskin under some pressure constricts the blood vessels in the region. This reduces the blood circulation around the tip of the penile.

The reduction in the blood flow causes the discoloration of the penile skin. As a result, the foreskin may appear bluish or purplish.

Urination difficulties

The swelling, pain, and discomfort because of trapping of the foreskin, can give rise to difficulties while urinating. The pain can be felt in the urethra, which is a tube that lets urine leave the body.   

Failure to retract the foreskin

The foreskin becomes stuck around the glans of the penile. It becomes difficult to get pulled back to its normal position.


Early treatment can lower the risk of complications. The conditions if left untreated, may potentiate the risk of developing serious infections, tissue necrosis (death of tissue), or gangrene.


Factors leading to Paraphimosis

Paraphimosis can occur because of the following reasons:

Forced retraction

Paraphimosis can commonly happen when the foreskin of the penile is forcibly pulled back behind the glans penis. The foreskin becomes trapped there.  

This can occur when an individual undergoes medical procedures, such as catheterization and genital examination. Besides, aggressive sexual activity can also cause the foreskin to be pulled back forcefully.

Poor foreskin hygiene

Inadequate foreskin hygiene can cause adhesions between the foreskin and the glans penis. Due to the scar tissue formation, the foreskin fails to return to its normal position after retraction. This can increase the risk of paraphimosis.

You need to maintain proper hygiene by keeping your penile clean. The foreskin has to be pulled and carefully washed with some warm water. After washing, pull the foreskin back to its normal position.  

Penile manipulation

If you forcefully pull the foreskin or aggressively handle your penile, this may increase your risk of paraphimosis. You need to be gentle, as the skin around the penile is very delicate and sensitive.

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Health conditions

Some health conditions can potentiate an individual’s chances of developing paraphimosis. Conditions such as balanitis or balanoposthitis (which causes inflammation), infections, scarring and tightening of the foreskin, etc. can lead to paraphimosis.  

Genetic predisposition

Some men are more susceptible to paraphimosis compared to the others. This is so because of anatomical variations or genetic predisposition.  


Accidents and injuries that occur to the penile during sexual activity can also contribute to paraphimosis.  

Surgical procedures

Paraphimosis can sometimes result due to complications of medical procedures done in the genital area. In males, catheterization or circumcision are the common types of procedures that can enhance the risk of Paraphimosis.

Uncontrolled erections   

During prolonged erections, the foreskin of the penile might get trapped behind the glans penile (tip of the penile). The foreskin might fail to return to its usual position. This may increase the possibility of developing Paraphimosis.  

Paraphimosis treatment

Treatment techniques involve pulling back the foreskin to its normal position. This will reduce the pain and swelling. The blood flow will also happen properly. Here are some common treatment approaches:

Manual reduction  

Healthcare providers will try to manually manage Paraphimosis. They may do so by gently squeezing the glans of the penile to lower swelling.

Once the swelling subsides, the foreskin can be carefully and gently pulled back to its normal position. They may or may not make use of a lubricant.

They may even use anesthesia to numb the area before reducing it manually. When the foreskin is brought back, a bandage may be applied, which alleviates the pain and swelling.  

Topical treatments

Topical creams, ointments, or lotions can be applied to the swollen area to promote healing and avoid infections.

Pain management  

To overcome the pain, discomfort, and swelling, you can make use of over-the-counter medications or prescription medicines.

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