Paraphimosis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Paraphimosis (say "pair-uh-fy-MOH-suss") is a problem with the skin on your penis. The skin that folds over the penis (foreskin) gets tight and sticks behind the head of the penis. The skin can't return to its normal place over the head of the penis.

This only occurs in men who still have all or part of their foreskin.

This problem needs to be treated right away. If it's not treated, the penis will swell. Then blood flow to the head of the penis may be cut off. This can damage the penis. And it can be very painful.

Your doctor probably reduced the swelling and put the foreskin in its normal place. Your doctor may have done surgery if the problem was severe.

Your doctor may suggest that you be circumcised. This can prevent the problem from happening again.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If the doctor used surgery, follow the directions you are given.


  • Clean your penis every day. Pull the foreskin back. Then carefully wash the whole area with warm water. After washing, return the foreskin to its normal position.
  • Always return the foreskin to its normal position if it has been pulled back. This may happen during sex. Or you may pull it back before sex, before you urinate, or when you clean your penis.
  • Be sure the foreskin is in its normal position after any doctor examination or procedure. For example, the foreskin may be pulled back to use a catheter.
  • If the problem happened after using jewellery in a piercing, do not use the jewellery again.
  • If the problem happened during sex, do not have sex for a few days.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • The foreskin is stuck behind the head of the penis.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

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