Phimosis Stretching: Helpful illustrated guide (with examples)
This is an in-depth guide on phimosis stretching. We have also included pictures and illustrations for each section to better illustrate the process of stretching.
Phimosis is a medical term for tight foreskin. If you can’t retract your foreskin fully over the glans, then you have a tight foreskin. The goal of phimosis stretching is to get to a stage where you can move your foreskin, back and forth, freely over the glans while the penis is erect.
What are we trying to stretch?
Let us first define the problem. The reason your foreskin is tight is that its natural movement is being constricted by the phimotic band.
In a normal penis, this is otherwise known as a ridged band, and it does not constrict full retraction of the foreskin. But if you have phimosis, you can only retract the foreskin to the extent your phimotic ring allows it. Anything over it, and you will feel pain and discomfort.
So, in order to cure your phimosis fully, you will need to gradually open your phimotic band circumference. This small tiny band is what you are trying to stretch using the methods shown here.
The science behind phimosis stretching
This stretching process is entirely scientific. Phimosis stretching works through the mechanism of tissue expansion.
This means that when the skin tissues are subjected through gentle mechanical stretching, they are stimulated to differentiate through mitosis to form new skin cells that result in the increase of the surface area of the skin being stretched.
So, if the phimotic band is subjected to consistent mechanical stretch over time, then through the formation of new skin cells, the phimotic band will become looser over time as the surface area of the phimotic band increases.
This is essentially what we are trying to achieve through foreskin stretching. Please keep in mind though that the stretching needs to be gentle and painless. If the phimotic band is stretched beyond a limit that it becomes painful and leads to cuts, that will lead to scarring which is counterproductive.
Active and passive stretching
There are two ways to stretch the foreskin- active stretching and passive stretching.
- Passive stretching- As the name suggests, it is the process of stretching your phimotic band without any physical effort, using rings. Passive stretching is extremely crucial to progressing with phimosis stretching and is essential. Through this method, you wear rings over your phimotic band for a certain amount of time every day, and these rings stretch your phimotic band evenly in all directions. Proper attention should be paid to wearing the appropriate size ring. If the rings are too tight, it can cause tears in the phimotic band. If it is too loose, it may fall off and may not provide enough stretch.
- Active stretching- As the name suggests, it is the process of actively stretching the foreskin through various exercises such as using your fingers to stretch the phimotic band diameter. This also includes stretching your frenulum that we will explain later in this guide.
Even though phimosis stretching may seem overwhelming at first, it actually is quite easy and does not take a lot of time and effort. It does need consistency though, and the more disciplined you are the better your results will be.
For best results, you should try to incorporate both these methods in your daily stretching schedule. Passive stretching using rings should be the foundation of your phimosis treatment routine.
Rings for passive stretching
Rings provide gentle consistent stretch uniformly to the phimotic band in all directions. If you really want to cure phimosis, rings are the most important part of your phimosis stretching protocol. Here is how the process works with rings-
- Find out which size Phimostretch ring is appropriate for your current stage of phimosis. You may have to do some trial and error to figure out the appropriate size. The ring should not be too tight as that may be painful. It should just be snug enough.
- Start with wearing the rings for 30 mins daily. Use a lubricant like coconut oil or castor oil.
- You may extend this time depending as you get used to wearing a certain ring.
- Over a few days or weeks, you will notice that this ring will start to fall off regularly. That indicates that the ring is now too loose and time to move to the next ring and continue stretching. The ring sizes are labeled and are in very small increments. So, you should be able to move to the next ring size easily once your current ring becomes loose enough.
- Repeat the process with the next ring size.
If you are wondering how to wear the rings, there are 2 methods.
Method 1 is easier but only applies to smaller rings, typically 24 mm or less.
- Pull your foreskin back (Don’t overdo it)
- Pick the right-sized Phimostretch ring
- Press the ring against the glans, inside the phimotic band
- Release your hand once the phimotic band is snugging the outer diameter of the ring
Method 2 applies to bigger rings as method 1 is only limited to smaller ring sizes
- Pull your foreskin back (Don’t overdo it)
- Fold the phimostretch ring
- Press the folded ring against the glans, inside the phimotic band
- Slowly release the fold
Foreskin stretching using the rings is a passive activity as it does not interfere with your regular activity while you have the ring on. For example, you can read a book or work on your computer while you wear the ring. You also don’t need to take off your ring during urination. Make sure to wash your rings with soap after every use for proper hygiene.
Use 2 fingers inside Phimotic band
If your phimotic band is over 16 or 18 mms in diameter, you should be able to insert two fingers inside the phimotic band as shown here. Using your fingers to do phimosis stretching is an active form of stretching as you have to devote a certain amount of time and effort to do these exercises. After the rings, this is the second most important protocol in the stretching process. Here is how you should do it-
- Using your index fingers, locate your phimotic band. It should feel like a small inelastic rubber band.
- Then gently try to stretch your phimotic band in the opposite direction for 30 secs.
- Release it back to relax for 10 secs
- Again stretch it for 30 secs.
- Repeat the stretching process 5 times in 1 session.
This session should only take 5 to 10 mins of your time every day. However, this method is very safe because you will have a good feel of the limits to which you can stretch your phimotic band without causing tears.
Use 2 fingers on the sides
If your foreskin doesn’t open very much and your phimotic band is less than 16 mm, chances are that you may not yet be able to insert two fingers to do a phimosis stretching exercise manually. In this case, you will need to modify the above mentioned 2 finger protocol slightly. Here is how to do it-
- Locate your phimotic band by retracting your foreskin slightly.
- Grab the opposite sides of the phimotic band as shown below using your thumb and index finger of each hand.
- Stretch it gently by pulling in the opposite direction for 30 secs.
- Relax it back for 10 secs.
- Again stretch it for 30 secs.
- Repeat the process 5 times or more in 1 session.
Five to 10 minutes per day should be enough. Please note that this method is not necessary if you can already insert 2 fingers inside. This is only for those individuals who don’t have enough foreskin opening yet to allow the insertion of two fingers to stretch. Once your foreskin diameter loosens enough to allow you to insert two fingers, follow the two-finger insertion method instead.
Q-tips for small holes
If you have level 2 phimosis or if your foreskin opening is smaller than 8 to 10 mms, chances are that you are unable to grab your phimotic band by your fingers to stretch. In that case, you can try using Q-tips to gently stretch your phimotic band as shown below.
Please note that using Q-tips can sometimes cause tears and marks if you over-stretch your phimotic band. So please be as gentle with your stretching as possible.
You are only using Q-tips here because your foreskin hole isn’t big enough yet to allow stretching it using fingers. Once your foreskin loosens up enough you should avoid using Q-tips any more and switch to using your fingers instead.
Frenulum stretching is the third most important stretching exercise after rings and 2 fingers insertion method. The frenulum is a small piece of band that connects your glans to the inner foreskin surface. It is one of the most sensitive areas in your penis. People with phimosis often may also have a slightly shorter frenulum. But it can easily be stretched using the method shown. Here is how it works-
- Grab the lower part of your foreskin using your thumb and index finger.
- Gently pull the lower foreskin forward. This pulls your frenulum forward as well.
- Pull the frenulum forward for 30 secs and then relax for 10 secs.
- Repeat the process 5 times every day.
Please note that Frenulum stretching is only for loosening up your frenulum. It will not solve your phimosis by itself. You will still need to use rings and 2 finger insertion to loosen up your phimotic band diameter. However, loosening up your frenulum still helps since there is a possibility that your frenulum may be a little small or too tight also. So, combine all of these stretching activities to see the best results.
Pulling the foreskin back and forth
You can try to pull back your foreskin only to an extent your phimotic band allows. Don’t retract it any more than that. You can try doing this while taking a shower under warm water. You will find that it is easier to do this during shower as skin is looser and more pliable when exposed to warm water.
You can either do it on a flaccid penis or when the penis is erect. You can also use oil over your glans and foreskin to make the retraction smoother. If you are masturbating, make sure that you are doing the correct way.
The correct way to do it is by lying on your back and using your fist or fingers to make an up and down stroke. This way you are trying to pull your foreskin back half the time. With a normal foreskin, your foreskin will retract fully and then move forward, resulting in a gliding motion of the foreskin over the glans.
With a phimotic band though, this gliding motion is only restricted up to the extent your phimotic band opening allows but you are still making an up and down stroke motion, even though, it is not a full gliding motion.
Avoid prone masturbation at all costs. It has been found that there is a high correlation with men who masturbate prone or lying down and men who have phimosis. If you have been doing it this way, stop it immediately and start following the correct way mentioned above.
Oil for lubrication during stretching
You have to make sure that your glans and foreskin are lubricated well enough while you use the rings. You can use one or more of these lubricants-
- Extra virgin organic coconut oil- Preferred lubricant for phimosis stretching. Acts as a good anti-fungal, has a nice smell and lubricates the skin nicely.
- Castor oil- Equally as effective as coconut oil, though some people find its smell, not to their taste.
- Zinc and castor oil- For post rings usage. If you are seeing redness or tears, this is a must. This is the same ingredient that is found in a lot of baby anti-rash creams.
Use clotrimazole anti-fungal cream after rings usage
This is optional but you will find that in some cases it makes sense to use an anti-fungal cream containing clotrimazole after using rings for stretching.
The reason for this is that rings can trap moisture during usage which forms a friendly environment for fungal infection. Hence applying a clotrimazole anti-fungal cream after every usage helps safeguard against such infections.
This also helps with other related issues that you may be dealing with, but you may be unaware of, such as balanitis or BXO or Lichen sclerosus.
These creams are readily available in the market over the counter and are very cheap.
Steroid creams for Phimosis
It has been scientifically proven in the Phimosis related research experiments that steroid creams containing ingredients such as Betamethasone help with loosening up the foreskin and hence treating phimosis.
It needs to be pointed out though that steroid creams when used as a standalone cure, won’t help at all with solving phimosis. However, when used in conjunction with phimosis stretching activities such as rings and stretching exercises it can speed up the phimosis treatment quite a bit.
The reason this happens is that steroid cream causes a thinning effect on the skin area where it is applied where collagen production is suppressed. Hence the skin becomes more pliable to stretching.
Caution must be exercised while using this kind of cream as excess use of steroid cream over the skin can have a damaging effect on the area where it is applied. Hence if you have to apply the cream at all, apply it sparingly.
The best time to apply the Betamethasone cream would be night time before you sleep. Make sure you apply it only over the phimotic band and not anywhere else. Also, you will need to make sure you only apply it in a very small amount.
Because of the potential side-effects of the steroid creams, they are a prescription-only cream in most countries and are not available over the counter. You will need to consult a urologist to get a prescription to use this cream.
What if you get tears or cuts on foreskin?
If you try to move up rings too fast or use bigger rings, you may cause tears or cuts on the phimotic band.
If this happens, take a few days break to allow time to heal. Once it is fully healed and there is no pain, you can again get back to stretching using appropriate ring size. If you are using the right ring size and are not trying to move up to the next one unless the foreskin loosens up well enough, you should not be having any issues with stretching.
This also applies to cases where your foreskin has an infection. Phimosis stretching should only be done on a healthy foreskin. If you have rashes or fungal infections, first try to resolve it first using clotrimazole anti-fungal creams. You can get back to stretching again once it is fully healthy.
If you have phimosis, you will also most likely have a sensitive glans. Glans in circumcised males are not as sensitive as with uncircumcised males because it has been consistently exposed to the outside environment and has been desensitized quite a bit as a result.
In uncircumcised males, since the foreskin covers glans most of the time, it is more sensitive when compared to circumcised glans. However, this sensitivity is normal and is not painful as it is still used to being exposed to, every now and then, for example during masturbation or sexual intercourse or during a bath. But other than that it stays well lubricated inside the foreskin and with sebum oil.
For males with phimosis however, this sensitivity is much more heightened and is painful in most cases when glans is exposed to outside touch. This is why even sexual intercourse can be painful and uncomfortable if you have phimosis.
So, while you are working on expanding your phimotic band diameter through phimosis stretching, you should also be working on desensitizing your glans penis through consistent exposure to the outside environment.
For example, you can touch your glans with fingers regularly. It is easier to rub your fingers over your glans when it is lubricated with coconut or castor oil. You can also try retracting your foreskin when taking a shower and expose it to falling lukewarm water droplets. You can also try retracting your foreskin when inside a bathtub.
Fully cured of phimosis?
Once you reach a stage where you can move your foreskin back and forth freely over the glans and shaft of the penis without foreskin getting stuck behind the corona, then you should congratulate yourself as you have cured your phimosis fully!
This is the final goal with your phimosis stretching. You should still continue with the final ring usage for a few more weeks to solidify your gains and make the improvements permanent. It is also helpful to keep doing the finger stretching exercises for a few more weeks to complement the ring stretching.
Sample daily stretching protocol
Below is just an example of a stretching protocol you can try to follow. However, you can also customize the routine to your convenience as you get used to the overall stretching process-
- Morning- Stretch using 2 fingers while taking a warm shower on in a warm bathtub. Expose glans to water to improve sensitivity. Apply coconut oil after taking a shower
- Afternoon/Evening- Apply coconut oil over glans and foreskin (phimotic band). Wear the right size ring for 30 mins to 2 hrs (Depending on your familiarity with that ring size). Take it off and apply clotrimazole antifungal cream over the area.
- Night- Stretch using 2 fingers before sleeping. (Optional- Apply steroid Betamethasone cream sparingly on the phimotic band before sleep).
Your body has a plethora of microbes both inside the body and over the skin. For example, bacteria and fungi play a role in acne. Your gut bacteria play a role in digestion. Bacteria in your gums cause plaque. Fungi over your penile shaft may cause balanitis, and in some cases tight foreskin as a side effect.
All these microbes and fungi rely on sugar and fiber to thrive and survive. A diet high in carbs and sugar helps promote bacterial overgrowth and sustenance.
Hence, a no-carb diet can be an important arsenal in countering underlying issues caused by fungi and microbial overgrowth. Examples include Balanitis and Lichen Sclerosus. Phimosis is linked to both in some cases.
No-carb diet may be difficult to follow at first. But if you feel that there is an underlying fungal issue, you may want to make changes to your diet as well.
Mistakes to avoid
- Soap usage over glans or foreskin. Only wash your foreskin and glans with warm water. Soap can wash off good bacteria, cause microbial imbalance and result in fungal overgrowth.
- Using a higher sized ring or trying to move up the next ring size too soon- If you use a bigger ring, it will definitely cause tears and will hurt your progress. Only move to a bigger size ring when your current ring is loose enough that it falls off by itself.
- Causing tears or cuts through overstretching- This can actually cause contraction and will be counter-productive. Phimosis stretching only works if the stretching is gentle, without any pain and is consistent enough.
- Impatience- You have to keep in mind that phimosis stretching is a slow process and it takes time to see results. It is also different for each individual. Some may see excellent progress in a matter of days. For some, it may take weeks to see progress. But if you are consistent and are following the right process, you should be making progress.
- Excess steroid cream usage- You should remember that using steroid creams is optional and is not necessary. You can totally cure your phimosis even without these creams. If you are using steroid creams, you have to be extra careful in making sure you only apply it sparingly over your phimotic band. Excess use can affect your glans' outer skin layer as well as your foreskin.
- Not using lubricant when wearing the ring- Lubricants (such as coconut oil) are extremely important to make your phimotic band more pliable for safely stretching. Don’t skip it!
Timelines to cure fully
The timelines will depend on your current level of phimosis severity.
If you have a level 5 mild phimosis, then it may take just 1 ring usage and some consistent 2 finger stretching exercises to loosen it up fully.
If you have a level 1 pinhole phimosis, you have some work ahead of you.
However, most people who have phimosis start at level 3 phimosis which is around 16 to 18 mm ring. If this is you, then you may be looking at a few months of stretching using rings as well as exercises consistently to cure fully.
However, each individual is different and there is no set rule. Some people see progress very quickly and can move up ring size within days. For others, it may take weeks or even months to move up to the next ring size.
You should keep in mind though, that if you have phimosis, you have had it all your life. So, a few more months of phimosis stretching to cure it fully should not be a dealbreaker for you.
It takes time to see results with phimosis stretching but you can be confident that you should be able to cure it fully if you are consistent and are using the right methods.
Get a feel for your phimotic band first and evaluate which stage of phimosis you are in currently. Use the appropriate ring size based on your phimotic band diameter to start with your phimosis stretching. Use lubricants such as coconut oil while wearing the rings. Keep using the ring daily until it becomes loose enough to fall out by itself regularly. Use anti-fungal cream to counter fungal overgrowth. Do daily exercises such as frenulum stretching and two-finger stretching regularly. Work on improving your glans sensitivity daily. Be patient with seeing results and you now have a clear and simple path in your phimosis journey ahead of you.
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