Ballooning of the foreskin

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Ballooning of the foreskin occurs when urine flows out of the urethra of the penis faster than it flows out of the foreskin of an intact boy. Ballooning cannot occur until the inner layer of the foreskin has separated from the glans penis to which it is attached by a synechia.[1] Although ballooning is a developmentally normal condition, not every boy experiences ballooning. Ballooning may cause some transient, temporary discomfort if it pulls apart the synechial connection to the glans penis.

The layer of dartos muscle in the foreskin keeps the tip closed to protect the penis from infection.[2] The pressure of the urine is necessary to open it to allow passage of urine. The pressure is what causes the ballooning.

Babu et al. (2004) compared boys with ballooning with boys without ballooning. No evidence of obstructed urinary flow was found. Ballooning is a self-limiting condition that disappears with normal development.[3]

No attempt to retract the foreskin should be made. Forcible retraction is harmful. Wright (1994) advises that the first person to retract the boy’s foreskin should be the boy himself.[4]

See also

External links

  • REFweb (25 August 2019). Ballooning,, Your Whole Baby. Retrieved 17 May 2020.


  1. REFweb (4 June 2020). How To Care For Your Child's Foreskin, KidsHealth of New Zealand. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  2. REFjournal Fleiss P, Hodges F, Van Howe RS. Immunological functions of the human prepuce. Sex Trans Infect. October 1998; 74(5): 364-67. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  3. REFjournal Babu R, Harrison SK, Hutton K. Ballooning of the foreskin and physiological phimosis: is there any objective evidence of obstructed voiding?. BJU Int. August 2004; 94(3): 384-7. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  4. REFjournal Wright JE. Further to the "Further Fate of the Foreskin". Med J Aust. 7 February 1994; 160: 134-135. PMID. Retrieved 17 May 2020.