Can't pull back foreskin: Hi im 16 and I... - Men's Health Forum

Men's Health Forum
19,742 members3,611 posts

Can't pull back foreskin


Hi im 16 and I can't pull my foreskin back only up to the head but does become painful, and I'm not quite sure I want to have circumsition if I could get advice, thanks

17 Replies

You probably have phimosis, you can search on the internet how to do stretching for phimosis and you will get a lot of help their or search NHS phimosis If you live in the uk for more info there. Good luck.

You have quite a common problem. Gentle stretching in the bath or shower may help. Cortisone creams are available if needed. Take your time and do not rush into Surgery, when it's gone, it's gone.

Meanwhile everything will work so do not worry.

It may just be a simple cause of just don't have to conclude that you need circumcision.try simple stretching exercises using lubes or in the shower,also if the problem persists try a clobetasol propionate cream.even then if the problem persists I would advice you to have a saying this because I'm of the same age and had the same problems.I recently had my circumcision if you had any more doubts you can ask me.Thank you👍

It is not necessary to tell your parents. Actually, it is better if you don’t. They might take you to get circumcised, which is the last thing you want.

Please do not worry. You are normal for your age. Your foreskin is still developing. You don’t have phimosis. You have a normal, non-retractable foreskin due to your youth. It is very common for teen guys to have a foreskin that does not retract.

You are blessed with a protective, highly-innervated, erogenous full-length foreskin. Many unforeskinned guys would envy your foreskin. You display great wisdom in wanting to avoid circumcision.

You should thank your parents for protecting your physical integrity. Because of your physical integrity you will be able to have sex the way nature intended it.


Do not be misled by those who want you to have part of your penis cut off.

Every male starts life with a tight, non-retractable foreskin. Some get looser automatically and some need a little help.

The foreskin is supposed to be tight and non-retractable in childhood so that it provides protection, but it is supposed to retract and glide back and forth in adulthood. Teens are in transition between childhood and adulthood so frequently the foreskin is still non-retractable.

There are three possible reasons that a foreskin will not retract.

1. The tip of the foreskin is too tight to pass back over the head.

2. The frenulum is too short to permit retraction.

3. There is a fusion or adhesion of the inner foreskin to the glans penis.

It is not necessary to have a foreskin that will retract. Some men live their entire lives with a non-retractable foreskin. They can masturbate, have penetrative sex, get married, and father children with a foreskin that does not retract.

You may clean non-retractile foreskin with a rubber-bulb ear syringe. Just fill the syringe with lukewarm water and squirt it into the foreskin.

It is easy to make your foreskin wider and looser by manual stretching.

Almost all boys are born with a foreskin that does not retract. This is normal. It takes years for the ability to retract to develop. About ½ of boys have a retractable foreskin by 10.4 years of age. Many adolescents still have foreskins that have tips that are too narrow to pass back over the penis head. These foreskins may be gently stretched over a period of time to cause them to widen. In most cases, the foreskin becomes retractable by age eighteen.

When your penis is erect, gently pull your foreskin back against the head of the penis. As the head attempts to pass through the foreskin it will stretch the skin a little. Do this several times every day and in a few weeks or months your foreskin will widen and you will be able to retract your foreskin. Do NOT force retraction. Do NOT cause yourself pain.

It works by tissue expansion. Stretching skin induces “mitosis”, which is a word that means “division of cells”. New skin cells are formed and the skin grows, but it takes some time. The increase in size is permanent. Be patient and give mitosis time to work.

The important thing is to put the skin under tension several times every day so that it will grow wider.

Betamethasone valerate ointment, which is available by prescription may help, but it won’t work by itself. Manual stretching is still required.


There are some who would want you to be circumcised. Circumcision is a horrible, mutilating, destructive, harmful operation, that takes off the best part of the penis. It should be considered a last resort after conservative treatment fails. One may prefer to remain as one is rather than undergo circumcision.

Excuse me Bucky, but where does it say that it’s common for guys as old as 16 to not have retractable foreskin? I think our sources are contradicting each other.

Hi Pineapples101:

I think this is a very good source:

This based primarily on the work of Øster.

Øster J. Further fate of the foreskin: incidence of preputial adhesions, phimosis, and smegma among Danish Schoolboys. Arch Dis Child 1968;43:200-3.


About 5 percent of boys of that age still have a non-retractable or partially non-retractable foreskin. I suppose one could argue whether "common" is the appropriate term.

I know I am frequently answering this same question from teens.

I might mention that some guys do not get a retractable foreskin until they are in their twenties but there is little research on that.

Thanks for the reply, I see what you mean, but I guess I would say it’s “common” if it affected about 1 in 10 guys and after that it would be a lot more uncommon. But with “normal” I would think of this to be the majority of guys or most of.


According to this source, about 1/2 of the adolescent and adult population of Japan has some degree of phimosis.

If it that high, I would say it is common. It seems to be consensus here that non-retractile foreskin is common in adolescence.

Why is that happening in Japan? That is very unusual! It’s not that common in the uk. Or I would think any other English speaking country. So technically it’s irrelevant on here unless we are speaking to someone Japanese, then you can say it’s common

But do you trust this source, are their sources, like the American Urological Association or medical hypotheses? Also if you know why is the phimosis rate so high in Japan? Is their a reason for this?

You need to ask the Japanese authors, not me.

Look in the upper right-hand corner of this webpage. There are nine different posts from different people about non-retractile foreskin. Apparently it is not as uncommon in the UK as you seem to think.

What we are trying to do here is to provide information to males who want to fix their foreskins. It is not really relevant how common or uncommon a problem might be.

I know but as I said, if they think it’s normal they might not take the problem as seriously, that’s all. Anyway let’s end it now we are ruining theenglishman’s post, pm me if you have anything else to say, thanks.

I looked on one of your sources and saw that another 3 - 4 % of boys have other issues the tight foreskin at the age of 16 that cause in retractable foreskin but this still is not that common or normal for a boy his age.

The NHS source you cite is very vague about development of foreskin retraction, that sometimes does not occur until after puberty.

If you take all teens from 13 to 18 as a group, it is more common at 13 and less common at 18.

That source was only to help him get help is it was getting more serious if he lives in the uk, that’s not where I got info about the development of foreskin but I have seen and understood that their are a couple other things that can effect foreskin being retractable, but if it’s not fully separated I assumed most guys would find this out on their own and that was wrong of me.

These sites have more information than that nhs website

I know people are saying you’re normal for your age, but your not. Your foreskin should have finished developing now as you are 16, less then 1% of males still have phimosis after he age of 16, it’s not as common as they think, it’s important to do stretches to help the skin loosen.

If it helps, there are lots of posts on here about tight foreskin, so I would assume it not uncommon. I was well into my twenties before I could pull back, and it was painful the first few times.

But, everything worked as it should with regard to sex.

You may also like...