You asked, we answered: Is it OK if I can’t retract my foreskin?


I have phimosis – I can't retract my foreskin entirely. I'm just able to peel it till I see the head of my penis. If I try to retract it more, it hurts, so I don't really try. I was able to retract it as a kid. About two years ago, my parents discovered it and helped me, but it was a painful, traumatizing experience. The last time I retracted it entirely was about a year and a half ago. 

I'm able to pee normally and even cum normally. Are there exercises I can do to retract it entirely? Is there really a need to retract it? As I said, I'm somewhat traumatized, so I prefer to leave my foreskin there, but I'm not sure if this might have repercussions in the future.  

Answered by Nebraska Medicine urologist Chris Deibert MD, MPH: 

First of all, neither you nor your parents did anything wrong. We see this with some frequency. It's important that you speak to a doctor about this. The foreskin should be able to retract readily at all points in life after infancy. It should be able to retract to allow for full erections. 

Unfortunately, there are no exercises I can recommend to help with this. There is a steroid cream that can be very helpful to relax the tissue and allow for better retraction. It does not work for everyone, but aside from circumcision, it's the only other reasonable option.  

To make an appointment with a University Health Center provider and receive a urologist referral, call 402.472.5000.