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21 November 2005
Topical Steroids Key To Overcoming Phimosis
by George Atkinson

Phimosis, when the foreskin of the penis cannot be pulled back over the glans of the penis, is a relatively common affliction that can lower the quality of life in the sufferer, and in the case of infants, cause anxiety for the parents of boys who suffer from it. In the past, pediatricians have been somewhat divided over the best course of action to treat phimosis. Some recommended a surgical procedure; with others suggesting that stretching exercises are all that is necessary. But now a new study has found that very effective results can be obtained from a combination of stretching exercises and topical steroids.

The researchers, from the Pediatric Surgical Unit at the University of Verona in Italy, carried out the study on 247 boys aged between 4 and 14, who all suffered from phimosis. The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics , placed the boys in two groups. One group's treatment involved stretching exercises and the application of the topical steroid betamethasone, while the other group used stretching exercises only.

The boys in the group that received the steroidal treatment applied 0.05 percent betamethasone cream twice daily for the first 15 days, then once daily for 15 more days. The stretching exercises commenced one week after the start of the topical application of betamethasone.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that 96 percent of the patients receiving the betamethasone treatment showed a complete resolution of phimosis. This was in marked contrast to the group of boys who were treated with stretching alone, where the success rate was much lower. The researchers conclude that treatment with topical steroids, combined with stretching exercises, is a suitable alternative to surgical correction (either preputial plasty or complete circumcision).




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