Paraphimosis : Causes, Symptoms & Treatment 

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Paraphimosis is a medical condition that involves the retraction or inability to return the foreskin of the penis to its original position after it has been pulled back behind the glans (the head of the penis). This condition can lead to a painful and potentially serious situation if left untreated. It is the opposite of phimosis, which is the inability to retract the foreskin over the glans.


It is a medical condition that involves the foreskin of the penis becoming trapped behind the glans, or head of the penis, and being unable to be returned to its normal position. This condition can result in significant discomfort, swelling, and potentially serious complications if left untreated. Paraphimosis typically arises from improper retraction of the foreskin, often during hygiene routines or sexual activity. While more commonly observed in males who have not undergone circumcision, it can also occur in circumcised individuals. Swift medical intervention is essential if it occurs, as it can lead to reduced blood circulation, tissue damage, and infection. 

This article provides an overview of the causes, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options associated with paraphimosis, underlining the importance of timely medical attention to mitigate its potential complications. 

Table of Contents

What are the causes of Paraphimosis?

It  typically occurs when the foreskin of the penis becomes trapped behind the glans (head of the penis) and cannot be pulled back into its normal position.

This can result from a few different causes:


Here are the symptoms of Paraphimosis:

Treatments of Paraphimosis:

The treatment for it aims to relieve constriction, reduce swelling, and restore normal blood flow to the glans. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the condition.

Here are the treatments of Paraphimosis:


In a medical disease known as paraphimosis, the foreskin gets stuck behind the penis’ head, resulting in swelling, discomfort, and other consequences. It may come from trauma, poor cleanliness, medical operations, or inappropriate retraction. Pain, swelling, the inability to retract the foreskin, and even color changes are among the symptoms. It might result in tissue damage and infection if untreated. Cold compresses, general topical medicines, and, if required, surgical treatments are used in the course of treatment. It’s critical to get emergency medical care if you have paraphimosis. Prevention can be aided by good cleanliness and gentle treatment of the foreskin. Recurrence is conceivable, and in chronic situations, circumcision could be taken into account. For genital health to be preserved, awareness of symptoms, timely treatment, and preventative actions are essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, it’s considered a medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, it can lead to serious complications such as tissue damage, infection, and reduced blood flow to the glans.

Practicing proper hygiene, gently retracting the foreskin during cleaning, avoiding forceful retraction, and seeking prompt treatment for any genital discomfort can help reduce the risk of paraphimosis.

If you experience symptoms of paraphimosis, such as swelling, pain, and difficulty retracting the foreskin, seek immediate medical attention. Do not attempt to forcibly retract the foreskin or manage the condition on your own.

Untreated can lead to tissue damage, infection, ulceration, and even gangrene due to compromised blood circulation. These complications can have serious consequences for genital health.

Yes, it can recur, especially if proper prevention measures and hygiene practices are not followed. Recurrence can also occur in individuals with underlying conditions that contribute to the problem.

Circumcision may be recommended in cases of recurrent or chronic paraphimosis, as it removes the foreskin and eliminates the risk of future episodes. However, it’s usually considered after other treatment options have been explored.

Treatment options include manual reduction by a doctor in general, topical medications to reduce swelling, cold compresses, hydration and elevation, surgical procedures to release the trapped foreskin, and in some cases, circumcision.