Question About Phimosis

Published: September 29, 2016
Dear Question About Phimosis,
I have a question about phimosis even though I'm circumcised. I am 18 years old. I'm definitely a "grower not a shower" as my penis is only about 2 and a half inches flaccid, but reaches the average 5 inches erect. I was circumcised at birth, however, usually after a long workout, my penis shrinks to about an inch, my foreskin covers almost the entire head, and I have to carefully roll my foreskin back when I get some privacy. This makes me very uncomfortable and self-concious while exercising. Is this normal? Is it just a bad circumcision job by my doctor? What can I do to fix it?
Signed: TeenhealthFX

Dear TeenhealthFX,

Phimosis is a constriction of the opening of the foreskin so that it cannot be drawn back over the tip of the penis. It is a normal occurrence in an infant. Over time the skin that adheres to the tip of the penis is able to be retracted as the foreskin loosens. By age 17, it is estimated that 90% of males will be able to completely retract their foreskin.

The terms, “Grower” and Show-er are expressions used in popular culture, so you won’t find them in the medical dictionary. A penis that doesn't gain much length with an erection is referred to as a "show-er," and a penis that gains a lot is said to be a "grower."

It is not clear to TeenHealthFX whether this situation is causing you embarrassment, pain or both. If it is causing you pain or discomfort when you roll back your foreskin, then you should see a doctor. It most likely was not a “bad circumcision job,” since that issue would have been identified by now.

Just like the penis grows during an erection, there are conditions that cause it to shrink. Exposure to cold temperature affect the blood circulation to the penis. This leads to a narrowing of the blood vessels and is known as vasoconstriction. Vasoconstriction causes the corpora cavernosa (spongy erectile chambers) to become less engorged with blood, making them smaller and the penis smaller. In the interim, the blood flow is distributed to other organs in the body that may need it. As blood flows away from the penis, it also becomes smaller.

Again, if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, or causing you significant anxiety, you should make an appointment to see a doctor. Once you are reassured that it is not a medical problem, then you can figure a way to deal with your concern at the gym so you’re not in a position where you feel embarrassed. TeenHealthFX can assure you that you are not the only one who worries about this issue. All you have to do is look on our site, to see that it is a regular concern for males.


Signed: Question About Phimosis