Penile frostbite

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Penile frostbite is a genital skin injury.


(The following text or part of it is quoted from the free Wikipedia article Frostbite:)

Frostbite is a skin injury that occurs when exposed to extreme low temperatures, causing the freezing of the skin or other tissues,[1] commonly affecting the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin areas.[2] Most often, frostbite occurs in the hands and feet.[3][4] The initial symptoms are typically a feeling of cold and tingling or numbing.[1] This may be followed by clumsiness with a white or bluish color to the skin.[1] Swelling or blistering may occur following treatment.[1] Complications may include hypothermia or compartment syndrome.[5][1]

Penile frostbite

This term is not commonly used in relation to the penis or foreskin. It emerged in early 2023 because Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, used the term in his book Spare. In it he falsely claims "that the chance of getting penile frostbite is much greater if you’re not circumcised" which not only is unproven but also unlogical, because the foreskin protects the glans from frostbite, like it does protect it from faeces and urine during the diaper era of newborns and other harmful influences later.[6][7]

Antarctic explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes states why Prince Harry's claim isn't true: private parts were nipped and swelled up. When I mentioned this to Mike, it turned out he was having the same problem only worse, with a blistered end. He was circumcised and therefore, in effect, had one less layer of insulation. I made a note of this factor in terms of selecting future candidates for polar expeditions.

[The foreskin offers not just insulation, but better circulation. The context makes it clear that the last remark is tongue-in-cheek.]
– Sir Ranulph Fiennes (Mind Over Matter: the Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent)[8]

See also


  1. a b c d e REFjournal Handford C, Thomas O, Imray CHE. Frostbite. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. May 2017; 35(2): 281–99. PMID.
  2. REFweb Frostbite - Symptoms and causes, Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  3. REFjournal Handford C, Buxton P, Russell K, Imray CEA, McIntosh SE, Freer L, Cochran A, Imray CJE. Frostbite: a practical approach to hospital management. Extreme Physiology & Medicine. 22 April 2014; 3: 7. PMID. PMC.
  4. REFjournal Millet JD, Brown RKJ, Levi B, Kraft CT, Jacobson JA, Gross MD, Wong KK. Frostbite: Spectrum of Imaging Findings and Guidelines for Management. Radiographics. November 2016; 36(7): 2154–69. PMID. PMC.
  5. REFjournal McIntosh SE, Opacic M, Freer L, Grissom CK, Auerbach PS, Rodway GW, Cochran A, Giesbrecht GG, McDevitt M. Wilderness Medical Society practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of frostbite: 2014 update. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 1 December 2014; 25(4 Suppl): S43–54. PMID.
  6. REFweb Gostin, Nick (5 January 2023). Prince Harry reveals whether he’s circumcised in bombshell ‘Spare’ memoir. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  7. REFnews Cost, Ben (6 January 2023)."Internet roasts Prince Harry over ‘frostbitten penis’ reveal", New York Post. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  8. REFbook Fiennes, Ranulph: Mind over Matter: the Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent. 332 pages. Delacorte Press. P. 75. ISBN 978-0385312165.