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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19328
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Hello from JustAnswer.

There are several conditions that can cause difficulty with retraction of the foreskin. If the problem only recently developed, then the most likely cause would be an infection or acute inflammation of the foreskin or the skin under the foreskin. If the problem is of longer duration, including gradually getting worse over a period of time, then it would be more concerning that it is from a chronic inflammation affecting the foreskin or some scarring related to prior infection or inflammation. Statistically, it is more likely to be inflammatory.

Treatment would involve medicines for infection or inflammation, as appropriate. Since inflammation is most likely, then the most common treatment involves steroids applied to the foreskin. If there is a significant amount of scarring, then it may require surgical removal of the foreskin.

Note that inability to pull the foreskin back is not an emergency, but when the foreskin is tight, it is possible that the foreskin can be pulled back and then not be able to pull it forward again. If this happens, then it becomes an emergency, because persistence of the problem can lead to interference with blood flow to the tip of the penis. Therefore, it is better to limit how much you are trying to pull the foreskin back when it does not readily slide back, because you may be able to get it back but not forward again. When it readily slides back and forward, then there is no problem, but do not try hard to force it back.

Therefore, inability to pull the foreskin back should be checked by your doctor, but is not an emergency. If the foreskin gets stuck pulled back and cannot be pulled forward would require emergency care.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
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