My urologist and nurse practitioner both suggested alternatives to circumcision to fix my phimosis. The first alternative, which I will discuss here, is stretching of the foreskin to allow it to pass over the glans when the penis is erect, as it is supposed to.
At the initial consultation with my nurse practitioner, I was prescribed a gel of 0.05% betaderm, which is a topical corticosteroid. I was instructed to liberally apply the cream to my foreskin twice a day and to spend at least 15 minutes stretching my foreskin with it. I wasn’t really sure what the NP meant when he used the word “stretching” and I didn’t ask, because I was too embarrassed. This was really stupid of me, and I should’ve gotten his professional opinion. He told me that it could take up to six weeks for the cream to fix my condition, but that I could expect some effect within the week.
So, I went home and looked up how to stretch my foreskin. This article was really helpful. I applied the cream and started stretching using the techniques it outlines. At first it was really tricky, because the stimulation would cause me to become erect and then there was no hope of getting my foreskin over my glans. I just ended up masturbating, which I figured couldn’t hurt in terms of stretching.
But, after a couple of days, I managed to get my foreskin over my glans when I wasn’t hard. That experience was not the most pleasant, as there was a lot of built-up smegma under my foreskin that I had to wash away and my glans was crazy sensitive. It’s for this reason that I suggest you try stretching in the shower or bath first. I also noticed some fairly large white bumps on the inner part of my foreskin and I panicked a bit, as I thought they could be genital warts or something crazy like that.
A quick internet search told me that, in fact, the white bumps are hardened smegma and that they can be removed using baby oil and soap and water. I guess that’s what happens when your glans is locked away for 21 years.
I continued stretching and after about two weeks, I was able to retract my foreskin when I was soft without the steroid cream and I got into the habit of retracting every day in the shower to keep it clean and stretched. Also, I wanted to desensitize my glans a bit. When I managed to get the foreskin retracted, I was so sensitive that even touching the head caused pain. However, even after six weeks of twice-daily stretching, I was (and still am) unable to retract my foreskin over the glans when I’m hard. Also, if the foreskin is retracted and I start to get hard, I experience painful paraphimosis which requires me to force the blood out of my glans so that I can roll up my foreskin. It’s awful.
For some men, myself included, foreskin stretching can’t fix phimosis. This is really unfortunate, as it is the only non-surgical alternative to circumcision for men with this condition. In my case, I think my foreskin is too thick and my frenulum too tight for stretching to work. I was really disappointed when I realized stretching wouldn’t work for me, as I had hoped to be able to retain my foreskin and forego surgery. Alas, this isn’t the case for me.
Which leads me to the second alternative…