When the penis is soft, the foreskin is the fold of skin that covers the head of the penis. When the penis is hard, the foreskin retracts and exposes the head of the penis.
Some men have a foreskin long enough to cover the head of their penis even during an erection.
Some men find that they have a tight foreskin, which does not easily roll back over the head of the penis when they have an erection. This can be painful or uncomfortable. This is known as phimosis.
If this isn’t causing you a problem then there’s nothing to worry about, but sometimes it can cause symptoms including redness, swelling and discharge, which can lead to balanitis (inflammation of the head of the penis or ‘glans’).
A tight foreskin can also be associated with sexually transmitted infections or other skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.
If you notice any of these symptoms or are concerned, then seek advice from one of our doctors or nurses.
If you can pull your foreskin back and it gets stuck and won’t retract (paraphimosis) you should go to A&E.