What Is A Foreskin?
The foreskin is a hood-like roll of thin and flexible double-layered skin tissue covering the glans (head or tip) of the penis and the urinary meatus (the urethra’s external opening). It is a stretchy mobile section of the penile skin, that can retract to expose the glans and can return to its original position and can serve as a natural lubricant.
The foreskin is made up of neurons, blood vessels, mucous membranes, and muscular tissues, all interlinked in its skin, and serves as a protection for the glans. It can also be called “prepuce”, a general medical term for genital coverings like the clitoral hood in women.
Not all males have a foreskin; some have theirs removed through circumcision at birth. Circumcision can be done for religious, cultural, aesthetic, or medical reasons.
If your foreskin is still in place, you have to properly take care of it in order not to have health issues that may become uncomfortable and lead to complications. One of such issues is the swelling of the foreskin, which we will be discussing.
What Is A Swollen Foreskin?
A <swollen foreskin, which can be referred to as “posthitis“, is a penile health condition that occurs when the foreskin is inflamed, increases in size, and becomes red, tender, and sensitive. It can become sore and very itch, causing severe penile discomfort.
The causes of the swollen foreskin can include some of the following:
- Debris that build up and form underneath the foreskin from discharges, dead cells, oils, etc, that have been trapped over time and not cleaned out.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, etc.
- Paraphimosis; a condition where a retracted foreskin gets stuck behind the glans leading to constriction
- Balanitis; a condition where the glans of your penis are inflamed and swollen. When swollen foreskin and balanitis occur at the same time, it is called ” balanoposthitis”.
- A bacterial or fungal infection
- An allergic reaction
- A trauma
Symptoms of swollen foreskin include:
- Soreness of the skin
- The tightness of the skin
- Burning sensation on the foreskin
- Itchy foreskin
- Painful and troubled urination
- Smegma; whitish and smelly discharge.
Consult With Your Doctor
A discussion with your medical adviser can help you know the cause of your swollen foreskin probably through physical examination and some tests. Knowing the cause will help your doctor decide which treatment method is best for your condition.
According to the cause and symptoms of the swelling, your doctor may recommend the following treatment for posthitis:
- Antibiotics or retroviral; to fight the infection causing inflammation and swelling.
- Antifungal creams and drugs; like clotrimazole, miconazole, etc, for fungal infections.
- Mild steroid or antihistamines creams and drugs; like cetirizine or diphenhydramine for allergic or irritant reactions.
- Hydrocortisone creams to relieve itching.
- Circumcision; a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin.
Measures To Take
When treating swollen foreskin, you may need to take the following steps to enable a better result. They include:
- Focus on your hygiene;
- Wash your hands before touching your penis.
- Have a warm bath and make sure to wash your penis every day. Make sure to retract and lift the foreskin, and wipe out all debris underneath it to prevent build up.
- Keep it dry and clean
- Use an ice compress on the swollen area for minutes to reduce the swelling and inflammation
- Wear loose underwear to keep the area airy and unconstrained.
- To prevent your penis from rubbing against your underwear and getting more irritated, you should cover it with a bandage.
- Avoid the use of any chemical or substances that will trigger irritation or allergy. Use gentle soaps and washes to bathe and wash your underwear.
- Change your underwear frequently. Wear a new pair every day.
- Use protection when having sex and choose condoms that are for sensitive skin.