Children's Hospital Colorado

Phimosis and Paraphimosis

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What are phimosis and paraphimosis?

Phimosis occurs when the foreskin is tight and narrow, making it impossible or painful to pull back over the head of the penis. This may cause pain or could lead to infections. If this condition continues beyond the average age of 4 to 5 years old, or causes pain with erections, medical or surgical intervention may be necessary.

Paraphimosis is where the foreskin is able to be pulled back fully behind the ridge of the glans but is unable to be pulled back over the glans (head). It can cause swelling and irritation, requiring urgent medical attention.

What causes phimosis and/or paraphimosis?

No one knows exactly why some boys get phimosis or paraphimosis.

Who gets phimosis?

Any boy could have phimosis, but it is commonly seen in males up to 10 years of age. Intervention is typically required if there is pain or discomfort with retraction of the foreskin.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Ty Higuchi, MD

Ty Higuchi, MD


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Duncan Wilcox, MD

Duncan Wilcox, MD

Urology - Pediatric

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD

Vijaya Vemulakonda, MD

Urology - Pediatric, Urology