Understanding the foreskin / prepuce
Foreskin (or Prepuce) is the loose skin, of double layers, covering the glans of penis. The foreskin of the penis grow with the male penis since the embryonic period. It protects the glans of penis from injuries; it also reduces the direct hitting and touching of the glans of penis.
The foreskin is not retractable in almost all newborns. At around three years old, about 50% of the foreskin can be retracted and exposed the glans of penis. During puberty (about 12-13 years old), more than 90% of the foreskin can be retracted and exposed the glans of penis. More than 95% of the male adults' foreskin can be retracted and exposed the glans of penis.
Normal adults' foreskin will not completely stuck to the glans of penis. Normal adults' foreskin can be easily retracted to the penile shaft during resting status. During erection, adults' foreskin automatically retract and expose the glans of penis. During puberty, some of the normal adults' penises grow longer than the growth in length of the foreskin. The foreskin retracts spontaneously and covers the shaft of penis and exposing the glans of penis permanently, during resting or erection.
Phimosis refers to the narrow front opening of foreskin or tight foreskin, phimosis can have three clinical manifestations:
- The tight foreskin cannot be retracted at all and the glans of penis is covered completely
- The tight foreskin can be retracted for a little distance and exposed part of the glans of penis
- The tight foreskin can be retracted to the shaft of penis and exposed all of the glans of penis; however, the tight foreskin over the shaft of penis cause significant constricting discomfort and pain
Foreskin and glans varies greatly from one person to another. If you have any enquiry, you should bring your son to an experienced doctor for advice.