Last updated on 14/12/2003
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Inflammation of the glans penis. See balanoposthitis
Balanitis xerotica obliterans
An outmoded term still in common use to describe lichen sclerosus affecting the penis. BXO is often considered by surgeons an absolute indication for circumcision. Current clinical guidelines for lichen sclerosus recommend treatment with a potent steroid cream such as clobetasol. See lichen sclerosus.
Inflammation of the glans penis and/or the foreskin. Recurrent balanitis or balanoposthitis is sometimes regarded as an indication for circumcision, but there is no evidence that circumcision is effective in reducing recurrences of balanitis.
See Balanitis xerotica obliterans.
A word used variously to describe men, or the penises of men who have undergone circumcision. Strictly it should be used in the past tense ("I was circumcised" or "I have been circumcised") but it is frequently used as a noun ("I am circumcised") almost falsely implying that "being circumcised" is a semi-natural occurence like "being tall" rather than an avoidable surgical procedure.
A euphemism for many types of genital reduction surgery performed on males and females around the world. In males circumcision is usually defined as the surgical removal of some or all of the skin that folds over at the front of the penis to cover and protect the glans. This may include the foreskin, the frenulum and an amount of skin from the shaft of the penis.
After circumcision a linear scar encircles the shaft of the penis a some distance behind the glans. This is where the foreskin has been cut away and the shaft skin has attached and healed onto the remnant of inner foreskin. The exact location of the scar will depend on the method of circumcision and the hand of the surgeon, but it is uusually somewhere between 5mm from the glans and half-way down the shaft. Often the shaft skin is darker in colour than the foreskin remnant. If stitches were used at the time of circumcision there may be one or more skin tunnels passing under the scar. These appear as pairs of little holes in the skin, a few millimetres apart, from which cheesy material appears from time to time, consisting of sloughed skin cells.
From the Latin for Crown. The widest part of the glans, often slightly flared out (particularly in the circumcised man).
Colloquial word used and misused in much the same way as circumcised
From the Latin for back and refers to that side of the body. In connection to the penis it refers to the side away from the scrotum in the non-erect position.
The foreskin is the fold of tissue that covers the glans of the penis. In adult men it should be capable of being pulled back (retracted) onto the shaft of the penis to expose the glans completely.
The foreskin begins immediately behind the glans (the head of the penis) and comes forward to sheath the glans and then doubles back on itself to form an outer layer that joins the shaft skin behind the glans. How much of the glans is covered by the skin is very variable. Still more variable is the coverage remaining when the penis is erect. The inner lining has a very sensitive erogenous mucosa that becomes ridged and especially erogenous just inside the foreskin opening.
A process of gently stretching the shaft skin in such a way that new skin cells are generated. After a period of time the glans is covered by new skin, allowing it to soften and return to a higher level of sensitivity.
Restoration cannot give back the erogenous tissue and nerves amputated at circumcision, but can create a more natural looking penis.
A small operation to lengthen a short or torn frenulum. It can usually be performed under a local anaesthetic.
Frenulum (or frenum)
The fleshy band of tissue on the underside of the penis that gathers up the foreskin to a point behind the glans and very close to the urinary meatus (pee-hole), helping to hold the foreskin forward over the glans. Similar structures are found under the tongue and in the mid-line of upper and lower lips inside the mouth.
The frenulum is one of the most erogenous parts of the penis.
The bell-shaped head of the penis, normally covered by the foreskin except during erections, when it is exposed by retraction of the foreskin. When a man has been circumcised his glans is usually permenantly exposed, and as a result it assumes a leathery texture losing much delicacy and sensitivity. Some of this sensitivity can be regained when it is once again protected using foreskin restoration techniques. The glans has a groove on the underside attached to the frenulum. There is an opening (meatus) normally situated at the tip of the glans where the urethra emerges, allowing the passage of urine and semen.
Sometimes the glans is mistakenly referred to as "The Glands" or "The Gland".
In the foreskin's resting position it has an inner and outer layer. The outer layer is a continuation of the shaft skin of the penis. At the tip it folds over and is continuous with the inner foreskin. The latter is a more delicate tissue, like the mouth or vagina and is particularly sensitive.
Inner Foreskin Remnant
After circumcision a cuff of inner foreskin is normally left between the scar and the glans. This is known as the 'Inner Foreskin Remnant'. The amount remaining is different for each individual, as it is dependant on the method of circumcision and the hand of the circumciser.
Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus
A chronic, atrophic skin disease characterised by white, angular, flat, well-defined, indurated papules with an erythematous halo and follicular, black, keratotic plugs. It has previously been called kraurosis vulvae in females and balanitis xerotica obliterans ("BXO") in males. It may also be referred to as white spot disease and Csillag's disease. It can be treated with a potent topical steroid.
The long narrow opening at the front of glans used to pass water and semen (aka "pee-hole").
A tight foreskin. Some foreskins can be tight throughout childhood and may not loosen until puberty is fully established.
Inflamation of the foreskin. See balanoposthitis
Scientific word for foreskin, can refer to the female clitoral hood as well as the male foreskin
A surgical alternative to circumcision in persistant phimosis. In one technique the tight band is cut through and sewn up at a right-angle to the cut. It leaves a notch in the end of the foreskin noticable during the initial stage of foreskin retraction.
The Ridged Band radiates from the frenulum and encircles the tip of the foreskin just within the junction between the outer and inner skin. Stimulation of the Ridged Band causes erogenous feelings in the foreskin.
The sac under the penis that contains the testicles.
The "body" of the penis, between the scrotum and the foreskin and glans. The skin on the shaft usually decreases in sensitivity from the foreskin back to the the scrotum.
Surgical methods and preferences for circumcisions produce results varying from the loose, where enough skin may remain to cover all or part of the glans, to the tight, where so much skin is removed that an erection will result in the shaft skin becoming taut , painful and in severe cases will make a full erection impossible .This will clearly also have an adverse effect on the overall length and girth of the erect penis. Men with tight circumcisions often find that foreskin restoration improves both the length and girth of their erections. However, men with very tight circumcisions sometimes find foreskin restoration difficult or impossible.
As a rough guide, if you have an erection and can pull any loose skin forward to cover part of your glans then your circumcision is probably loose. Conversely, if whilst flaccid you are unable to pull any skin forward to cover part of your glans then your circumcision is tight.
Also known as Phimosis. Some foreskins can be tight throughout childhood and may not loosen until puberty is fully established.
From the Latin for belly and refers to that part of the body. In connection with the penis it refers to the underside that lies against the scrotum in the flaccid penis.