Paraphimosis is the retraction and constriction of the foreskin behind the head of the penis. The event usually occurs after intercourse or masturbation and is more likely in those whose foreskin is tight, either as an anatomical anomaly or following infections of the foreskin (balanitis).

This retraction impedes the venous blood flow, causing swelling of the head of the penis. This tightens the foreskin even more and the engorgement causes intense pain.


Prevention is the best cure. Make sure that the foreskin is pulled forward after intercourse and use a petroleum jelly or soap and water as soon as any difficulty in pulling the foreskin forward is noted. The problem is self-perpetuating and left to its own devices will worsen.

If paraphimosis has occurred, place some ice cubes in soft material such as silk and surround the head of the penis. Apply gentle pressure and attempt to push the blood from the penile head up the shaft.

Use the homeopathic remedy Apis 6 every 5min and if the problem is solved, move onto Arnica 6 every 3hr until any residual ache subsides.

If this technique fails, go to the nearest emergency unit as soon as possible. The doctor there will apply a painkilling gel (which is, unfortunately, only partially effective) and squeeze the head of the penis. It is worth taking a painkiller on your way to the hospital but advise the physician that you have done so. • If this technique fails it is sometimes necessary for an operation under general anaesthetic to incise the foreskin. This usually leads to a circumcision.