Phimosis is a condition in which the male foreskin cannot be fully retracted. Phimosis is not a disease. Phimosis is the normal developmental condition in young boys.
It is entirely normal for the prepuce to be adherent to the glans in babies, and for the prepuce to not fully retract in young boys. Premature retraction, which is extremely painful, can cause permanent damage to the glans and ridged band, and is also the primary cause of infection in this area. As a boy grows to sexual maturity the prepuce normally becomes retractable. About 44 percent of boys have a fully retractile foreskin by age 10.
Many studies show that phimosis may be inexpensively treated medically without surgery by the application of topical steroid ointment to the narrow part of the foreskin. Circumcision, which formerly was the treatment of choice, is rapidly becoming outmoded.
Teen-age boys may treat a non-retractile foreskin by the Beaugé method. The Beaugé method provides tissue expansion by stretching to permanently relieve the narrowness that prevents retraction.