Steroid cream for Phimosis :When can you use it?-Phimostretch
Do Steroid creams work for phimosis? Well, they definitely could but probably not in the way that you would expect it to. In this article, we hope to clarify everything that you need to know about using steroid creams for curing phimosis and how to incorporate it into your phimosis stretching routine.
What are steroid creams?
Technically, the medical term is corticosteroid cream. Doctors usually prescribe corticosteroid creams to treat skin issues such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, skin rashes etc. because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
Corticosteroid creams are quite effective in the treatment of the above ailments. Since the corticosteroid creams have been quite common in usage for these skin issues, they have also found application in phimosis treatment.
We will explain soon though, that their effectiveness as a standalone solution to phimosis in adults is almost none unless used in conjunction with a good phimosis stretching regimen such as Phimostretch rings. However, they can be certainly beneficial and effective, when used in conjunction with rings as part of a stretching regimen.
Mechanism behind corticosteroid creams for phimosis treatment
Steroid creams work by inhibiting the production of collagen in the applied area. Collagen is what gives skin its elasticity. Old people have looser skin because the collagen production has gone down by that age. Younger people have more supple skin because of more frequent and normal collagen production.
If the steroid cream is applied on the phimotic band, it suppresses the collagen production in the area. That makes the phimotic ring thinner and looser to stretch.
So, theoretically, since you have a thinner amount of skin surface area to work with and stretch, the surface area should increase faster and you should be able to move up the ring sizes a bit quicker. Keep in mind though that this may not always be the case and results may vary based on the individual. Theoretically, however, it may give you an edge with phimosis stretching if used properly but sparingly as we will explain here.
Only a supplement and not a standalone solution
It is important to note here that the backbone of your phimosis stretching regimen has to be rings. There is no other way around it.
Think of steroid creams like Betamethasone (.05% cream) as a supplement. To use body building as an analogy, supplements are only used in body-building to “supplement” and optimize your muscle building process and physique. The bulk of the work in building muscles still has to be done in the gym by lifting weights and in the kitchen (Ever heard about the quote- Abs are made in the kitchen!) . Supplements are something that you would add on top of your normal gym/diet routine to help optimize the process.
If you only use steroid cream, and absolutely don’t do any stretching with rings or fingers, you are not going to get anywhere close to curing your phimosis. Steroid creams can definitely help you get to the end point a bit faster but only if you have a good stretching regimen in place.
Things to be cautious about when using corticosteroid creams
Corticosteroid cream has another important effect that you may not be aware of. It hastens the atrophy of the outer skin layer of the skin. It also slows down the cell reproduction in the inner layer that replaces the outer dead cells. Thus, the higher dosage creams or applying the cream in greater amount should completely avoided.
It is important to understand that you will only need to apply the cream in small amount. Use it sparingly. Steroid creams can wreak havoc on your skin if applied in larger amounts or used excessively. They can damage the tissue and cells if you are not careful.
Another good idea is to use the creams intermittently, or in other words, cycle the usage. This means you use it for one week, and then stop the usage the next week and restart the usage the 3rd week and so on.
Another strategy may be to use the cream intermittently on a daily basis. For example, using it every other day. We would recommend consulting your doctor as the strategy varies from one individual to the next.
One rule of thumb that is easy to follow though, is to make sure you are not seeing much side effects. Common side-effects may include itching, rashes, or skin deterioration. If you see any of these, that is a good indication that you should discontinue the usage.
What does the research say?
Phimosis in adults as a field has had very little to no substantial research. Most of the research in phimosis have been on children. The normal approach to phimosis in adults, in medical circles by urologists, has been to recommend surgery which, as you know by now we think, is completely unnecessary in 99% of the adults with phimosis. There have, however, been a few studies on the efficacy of steroid creams on children and the indication is that using the creams does seem to help to an extent.
Commonly used corticosteroid creams
Your doctor may prescribe you a steroid cream based on your individual condition and recommendation may differ based on your urologist. However, these are some of the commonly prescribed corticosteroid creams for phimosis-
- Betamethasone (.05%) dipropionate/ valerate - Most commonly prescribed corticosteroid cream
- Hydrocortisone etc.
When should you apply the steroid cream?
We get asked this question quite often. Our recommendation is to apply it only once a day, preferably during night time, after taking out your rings and washing your foreskin and glans.
You can also apply the cream in the morning, as long as you have cleaned the area while you do stretching in the evening. We do however recommend having some gap between putting the rings on and applying the steroid cream.
How many times a day should you apply it?
Apply it only once a day if you are wearing the rings the rings during that day. On off days when you don’t wear any rings, you can apply twice a day, once in the morning and once at night time.We would like to point out however, that with corticosteroid creams, if you have to err, err on the side of using it less rather than over-using it. Hence, our general recommendation is still going to be to use it once a day and use it sparingly.
How to apply it?
You can choose any of the below methods depending on your phimosis severity and personal preferences.
1. Take a smaller ring and apply on top of the phimotic ring-
Let us say that you are currently using the 22 mm Phimostretch ring. Use the next smaller ring which is 20 mm in this case. After putting it on, apply only a small portion on the phimotic band. Your phimotic band should be very easy to figure out by now since that is the band that is resting on your ring. Apply it around that circle sparingly. After application, take out the 20 mm ring and put it back in the packet after washing. This method works well for all severity levels with the exception of pinhole phimosis.2. Apply cream over the glans and pull the foreskin forward-
In this method, you apply a little bit of cream on the glans in a circular area and let your foreskin retract forward over it. Your phimotic ring should pick up most of the cream while pulling it forward. We would however recommend to avoid using this application method3. Apply directly on the foreskin opening-
The easiest of the three methods is to just apply the cream on the foreskin opening on the phimotic ring. The only tricky thing here is that you need to make sure you are actually applying the cream on the phimotic ring, and not on the outer foreskin since that wouldn’t serve any purpose.
Where to buy a corticosteroid cream?
Steroid creams are usually prescription only creams. So, in most countries they are not available over the counter and you will need to see a doctor or a urologist to get it prescribed.
We have found that most urologists will be willing to prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment if you have phimosis.
What if you can’t get it?
It is not a big deal honestly. If you can’t get it, then you don’t need it. The Phimostretch rings as a standalone solution is more than sufficient for you to resolve your phimosis. The rings along with a lubricant like organic coconut oil/castor oil is all that is needed to fully solve your phimosis.
How much quicker can you get the results with steroid cream?
The answer is -It depends. And it can vary from one individual to the next. Some individuals respond really well to the cream and it can double up the pace of moving from one ring to the next.
For others, it may not be as effective, and the difference in the pace is insignificant even with the corticosteroid cream.
There is also a small category of individuals who may find it counterproductive to use a corticosteroid cream especially, if they are allergic to it or if they use the cream in higher than normal amounts.
Example regimen with rings
Here are two sample regimens you may use while incorporating steroid creams-
- Wear Phimostretch ring 1 hr in morning
- 2-finger stretching in the afternoon
- Wear Phimostretch ring for 30 mins in evening.
- Wash foreskin.
- Apply Betamethasone .05% cream on the phimotic ring before going to bed
- Apply Betamethasone .05% cream in the morning
- Gentle foreskin retraction exercise for 5 mins after applying the cream.
- Wash foreskin in afternoon/evening.
- Wear phimostretch ring for 1 hr in evening/night. Take it off before sleeping.
Always make sure to wash and clean your private area in the morning to avoid excess 24 hrs exposure to steroid creams as well as to avoid fungal and bacterial overgrowth. Avoid soap. Normal lukewarm sufficient water is more than sufficient.
Steroid creams can help get the results quicker when done in conjunction with using Phimostretch rings. It is important to note that using the creams alone will not help you much with achieving the desired progress. Rings need to be your main tool and form the backbone in your phimosis stretching toolkit. Think of steroid creams as a supplement that helps you move from one ring to the next, slightly quicker. It helps if you use a corticosteroid cream but if you don’t have access to this cream, that is okay too. You should be able to get to the endpoint of your phimosis journey with just the rings at a good enough pace, as long as you are consistent and disciplined with your daily stretching.