The prepuce or foreskin as it is commonly known can sometimes be too tight to retract over the glans penis – this is called Phimosis.
Phimosis is normal in toddlers and babies and all boys are born with a tight foreskin, as the boys grow the foreskin stretches, although in some cases, this does not happen.
If it occurs in older boys it may be because a skin condition has scared the tissue. Most can live with the condition, but may need surgical intervention should the symptoms worsen.
Steroids can sometimes help the condition for short to medium term. Circumcision can be an option for the more severe cases.
BALANITIS XEROTICA OBLITERANS (BXO)
Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO) is an inflammatory condition of the foreskin or the glans. It may be caused by trauma, irritants or an infection. Infective balanitis is commonly caused by bacteria or fungi (yeasts) which thrive in the warm, moist, dark conditions under the foreskin. Poor hygiene or retained soap, retained smegma or inadequate drying may cause an irritant balanitis.
WHAT IS BALANITIS XEROTICA OBLITERANS (BXO) FORESKIN?
BXO is a thin white crinkly patch that appears on the foreskin. It can be troublesome if this is not treated. This is also known lichen sclerosis atrophicus or white spot disease.
WHO GETS THE BXO
BXO is a disease that can affect uncircumcised males of all ages ranging from young boys to adolescent and adults. This is the commonest cause of tightening of the foreskin (BXO phimosis)
WHAT CAUSES THE BXO?
The exact cause of BXO is unknown. Sometimes it is associated with diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks normal tissues. Despite the tendency to affect genital skin, BXO is not an infection and is not contagious, so sexual partners cannot pick it up. Rarely, BXO can occur in relatives.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BXO?
Many patients have none, but the most common symptom of BXO is itching. As a rule the patches on the foreskin itch and can also be sore if the skin breaks down or cracks. In the genital area, the scar-like process can tighten the skin, and this can interfere with sexual intercourse in affected men. BXO can make the foreskin tight and difficult to retract, and can even partly block the flow of urine.
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